Would you re-nationalise the energy companies?' poll discussion

Former_MSE_Lawrence Former MSE Posts: 975 Forumite
edited 30 November 2010 at 12:03PM in MoneySaving polls
Poll Started 30 November 2010:

Would you re-nationalise the energy companies?

In 1986 British Gas was privatised and floated on the stock market. Millions of 'Sid' shareholders got windfall profits at the time, in a massive deregulation of the gas and electricity market.

Now 24 years on, with price rises hitting again, has privatisation worked? Some complain that prices have risen too high, but is that offset by market efficiencies?

Which of these is closest to your view?

A. Keep privatised – the free market's status quo is more efficient
B. Regulate prices – keep it private but price rises should be controlled by the regulator (not firms)
C. Re-nationalise – it should be taken back into public ownership

Please vote here, or click 'post reply' to discuss below. Thanks :)



  • Gareth_Lazelle
    Gareth_Lazelle Forumite Posts: 110 Forumite
    I want to say 'C', but realistically it isn't going to happen anytime soon because of the state of our economy... (And that also goes for the other utilities)

    So for now I'll say 'B',
    - GL
  • Droylsdenian
    Droylsdenian Forumite Posts: 4 Newbie
    Considering how much profit these companies make,methinks those profits would have benefited the govt better. The money could have been used to support our NHS, our lads who are fighting for our country, and our education system. As those utility services were owned by the public I think it should have been illegal to sell it for profit to private businessmen. The public have never received the benefit from the sale, and are now paying through the nose for basic heating and lighting.
  • stevemoore_2
    stevemoore_2 Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    Utilities and transport should be owned by the people, the argument about business efficiencies is rubbish. Why does a state run business need to be run any worse than a for profit organisation. Rich people got richer and we are paying more to live once again.
  • wurley
    wurley Forumite Posts: 95
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    You didn't put 'not for profit' as an option.... If a company had to reinvest its profits rather than be a plc it can drop it prices substantially and get more done....

    Take Railtracks history for example, they cut costs to the bone and subcontracted out to the cheapest, rather than the safest because their interests were with shareholders. When Railtrack went off the rails they were taken over by a not for profit company... yeah they still pay stupid high wages to directors but they do not make decisions on cost over safety .Because they are run as a company they can still be had for corporate manslaughter...

    If an energy company was a not for profit one I wonder how much cheaper they'd be.:rotfl:
  • michellew_2
    michellew_2 Forumite Posts: 1,298
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Another possible option is part ownership by the government (especially if they were the major share holder) then a closer eye could be kept on their more nefarious practices like subjecting the poorest to pay more through prepayment systems. I also think all main "neccessities" (probably spelt wrong ;) ) should be at least part if not all nationalised
    Happy with any wins this year :A
  • einst31n
    einst31n Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    It's not going to happen, ever! No political party has the stomach to renationalise, and certainly it doesn't have the money to do so. A regulator is the only likely option, but if it ended up being as good as some of the other regulators (FSA anyone?) then it wouldn't be much use. Lack of real competition and not having to pass cuts in wholesale prices onto the consumer makes it a money machine. My advice? Buy shares, that way you get something back at least!
  • stumpyorson
    stumpyorson Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    Let's remember they are supposed to be regulated or do OFGEN do something entirely different????

    They are simply ripping us all off. Prices go down takes months....prices go up takes a couple of weeks. Remember they also buy the products up to two years in advance and estimate potential usage, but we never see any advantage. Con con con!!!!
  • Rainmaker_uk
    Rainmaker_uk Forumite Posts: 531 Forumite
    It amazes me how many people want to renationalise as they think this will be cheaper for them and provide revenue to the government.

    You only need to look at the state of the country's finances and the waste within the public sector to realise that renationalisation would end up being more expensive.

    There would probably be no additional money going back to the government as it would all be taken by fat public sector pension funds and the rest would be piddled away through the widespread inefficiencies that the public sector is famous for.

    The best we can probably to is restrict the beast by stronger regulation - but will they have the stomach for this? Somehow I doubt it...
  • sugarbaby125
    sugarbaby125 Forumite Posts: 3,335
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    Energy companies in the UK in my personal experience, behave more like highway robbers than responsible oraganisations. When energy prices are very low, they resist all the regulators attempts to lower energy prices accordingly for the consumers by saying that the energy is always brought in advance by as much as two years, so consumers are using the energy bought at the much higher price. Yet this rationale is nowhere in evidence when energy prices rise, oh no! We the consumer soon find ourselves with prices hikes, that never even seem to correspond with the price of energy. Never since the age of eighteen when I left home to live in my own council home with my sister in 1980, do I have any memory of energy prices being anything but extortionate. I have always had a very reduced income, even when in employment, so have always opted to use pre-payment meters. This option is only open to low income families, yet the price I pay for each unit of gas and electricity is at a higher rate than any other consumer. I learnt how to count every penny and make every penny work for me, from childhood, as the eleventh child of twelve children, so my budgeting skills are well honed. Why should those of us who have the lowest incomes pay more for our energy? This is a scandal that all of us need to address. I see no political party has the gumption to tackle the energy companies on this issue, but it is high time that this situation was rectified. Even when I manged to have a credit balance on my gas and electric accounts, I allowed this to build up, like a savings account until my family were in dire need, then asked for these monies. To my astonishment, the energy company refused to pay out, stating that it was impossible for a pre-payment customer to be in credit. When I made a formal complaint in writing, their response was to adjust my bills, by saying that the price I had paid for my gas and electricity units was incorrect, and they had now recalculated my gas and electricity usage for the last five years plus and sent me the newly adjusted bills, where, hey presto as if by magic, the credit balances had disappeared. I was so aggrieved, that I wanted to take my custon elsewhere, but every other energy company wanted to charge me even more as a pre-payment customer than my existing supplier! The vast profits that the energy companies are enjoying is on the backs of customers like myself. This should not be tolerated, we must all make our views known to the energy companies, who knows they may even begin to listen!! (miracles do happen sometimes;))
  • snowmaid
    snowmaid Forumite Posts: 3,494 Forumite
    The 'investors' in these energy companies are just raping these companies. When they are finished they will sell on to another 'investor' to use and abuse and so the circle keeps going.

    There is no significant investment, but certainly a lot of profits being made.
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