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  • FIRST POST
    Former MSE Lawrence
    Would you re-nationalise the energy companies?' poll discussion
    • #1
    • 30th Nov 10, 11:01 AM
    Would you re-nationalise the energy companies?' poll discussion 30th Nov 10 at 11:01 AM
    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

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    Last edited by Former MSE Lawrence; 30-11-2010 at 11:03 AM.
Page 1
  • Gareth_Lazelle
    • #2
    • 30th Nov 10, 11:05 AM
    • #2
    • 30th Nov 10, 11:05 AM
    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
    • #3
    • 30th Nov 10, 12:20 PM
    • #3
    • 30th Nov 10, 12:20 PM
    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
    • #4
    • 30th Nov 10, 12:27 PM
    • #4
    • 30th Nov 10, 12:27 PM
    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
    • By wurley 30th Nov 10, 1:37 PM
    • 92 Posts
    • 80 Thanks
    wurley
    • #5
    • 30th Nov 10, 1:37 PM
    chose C because...
    • #5
    • 30th Nov 10, 1:37 PM
    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.
  • michellew
    • #6
    • 30th Nov 10, 2:10 PM
    • #6
    • 30th Nov 10, 2:10 PM
    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
  • einst31n
    • #7
    • 30th Nov 10, 3:16 PM
    • #7
    • 30th Nov 10, 3:16 PM
    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
    • #8
    • 30th Nov 10, 5:52 PM
    • #8
    • 30th Nov 10, 5:52 PM
    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
    • By Rainmaker_uk 1st Dec 10, 10:58 AM
    • 514 Posts
    • 676 Thanks
    Rainmaker_uk
    • #9
    • 1st Dec 10, 10:58 AM
    • #9
    • 1st Dec 10, 10:58 AM
    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
    • By sugarbaby125 1st Dec 10, 11:08 AM
    • 1,785 Posts
    • 12,402 Thanks
    sugarbaby125
    Energy Companies
    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
    • By snowmaid 1st Dec 10, 12:09 PM
    • 3,284 Posts
    • 6,654 Thanks
    snowmaid
    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.
    • silvasava
    • By silvasava 1st Dec 10, 1:41 PM
    • 4,256 Posts
    • 67,704 Thanks
    silvasava
    I voted B because C is no longer a realistic option. However - what I would prefer is that all utilities in the UK should be owned/controlled by UK companies. I also think it should be a matter of statute too. We moan about increasing prices but how many of the Gas/Electricity & Water companies are no longer UK owned & the profits & controls go out of the UK.
    Last edited by silvasava; 01-12-2010 at 1:42 PM. Reason: spelling mistake
    Small victories - sometimes they are all you can hope for but sometimes they are all you need - be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle
  • scar60
    I've voted 'C' Even though it's never going to happen the idea of voting is to put your 'x' where your belief is.

    I'd just like to add a footnote if I may. I have worked for one of the electricity companies for 30+ years, obviously pre & post privatisation. Although I'm the first to admit that there was plenty of fat in the industry pre privatisation that needed shaving away at least it was managed, & had employees, who knew what they were doing.

    I'm afraid what you have now is an industry designed to make profits for shareholders (of which I am one by the way) with the minimum amount of investment. That has let all the experienced staff leave under very nice redundancy packages. That is run by highly paid managers who, quite frankly, know sod all about the industry. That employs staff (at lower levels) on very low wages who have very little knowledge about what/why they are doing things (& who can blame them for their lack of interest given their salary) And, perversly, they are now companies who have more waste that the pre privatised companies ever had (certainly at Managerial level)

    Does this sound like a rant ? It shouldn't be coming from a person who has done quite nicely from the industry. But it is an honest & frank appraisal of what has/is going on.
    • relaxtwotribes
    • By relaxtwotribes 1st Dec 10, 4:06 PM
    • 267 Posts
    • 118 Thanks
    relaxtwotribes
    We moan about increasing prices but how many of the Gas/Electricity & Water companies are no longer UK owned & the profits & controls go out of the UK.
    Originally posted by silvasava
    Rather like the debate about Cadbury's being taken over last year, this is a silly point to make. It matters not one jot whether these companies are UK owned. What matters is whether the money received from the foreign purchasers is employed to better purpose than previously. For example, take a company making 100m pa profit that is sold for 1,000m to a foreign buyer and that 1,000m is invested to make a return of 150m pa then the UK is better off by 50m pa.

    I know some posters will reply to the effect 'what about all the lost jobs?' but that too is to be sought after (with the caveat that it is government's responsibility to create an economy that creates new jobs). Ditching defunct jobs (coalmining, steelmaking, shipbuilding) and replacing them with higher value added jobs helps to fund a better NHS etc.
    • relaxtwotribes
    • By relaxtwotribes 1st Dec 10, 4:09 PM
    • 267 Posts
    • 118 Thanks
    relaxtwotribes
    Utilities and transport should be owned by the people
    Originally posted by stevemoore
    May I assume you are too young to remember the vastly higher tax rates of the 1960s and 1970s that were set in order to fund the atrociously inefficient state-run basket cases like steel, rail, coal and, yes, electricity?
    • webwiz
    • By webwiz 1st Dec 10, 8:54 PM
    • 209 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    webwiz
    I can only assume that all those voting for renationalisation are under 40, or otherwise cannot remember the bad old days of nationalised utilities. Want a phone? Wait a year. Want to phone British Gas? Be prepared to hold on for hours. The cost of phones and phoning has plummeted. The cost of gas and electricity has gone up because the cost of the raw material has gone up but prices are lower than they would be if the utilities were run for the benefit of the employees rather than the customers as used to be the case.
    • marleyboy
    • By marleyboy 1st Dec 10, 8:59 PM
    • 14,803 Posts
    • 28,739 Thanks
    marleyboy
    I would vote "C" although we all know this will never happen, I find it ironic that the governments sold off all of our "publicly" paid assets, from fuel to transport, which only served to cripple each and every one of them, and now they are sniffing the housing sector for more.

    Oh and I AM over 40!
    Last edited by marleyboy; 01-12-2010 at 9:03 PM.
    1+1+1=1
    "Marleyboy you are a legend!"
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    • relaxtwotribes
    • By relaxtwotribes 2nd Dec 10, 9:22 AM
    • 267 Posts
    • 118 Thanks
    relaxtwotribes
    I find it ironic that the governments sold off all of our "publicly" paid assets, from fuel to transport, which only served to cripple each and every one of them

    Oh and I AM over 40!
    Originally posted by marleyboy
    I call it good financial sense for the government to stop pouring hundreds of millions of our money down the drain.

    I assume your wink means you weren't quite all there at the time, if you get my drift.
  • Gareth_Lazelle
    I call it good financial sense for the government to stop pouring hundreds of millions of our money down the drain.
    Originally posted by relaxtwotribes
    Do you mean like with rail subsidies for the privatised rail franchises?
    - GL
    • relaxtwotribes
    • By relaxtwotribes 2nd Dec 10, 3:08 PM
    • 267 Posts
    • 118 Thanks
    relaxtwotribes
    Yes, Gareth.
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