September 29 -- UK families could benefit by at least $2,425 – and up to $4,745 – over the next two years if the UK had the same public ownership of energy as other countries, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said.
The Trades Union Congress brings together around 5.5 million working people who make up 48 member unions.
The analysis is part of a TUC report that sets out proposals for public ownership of new energy generation including wind, solar, tidal, and nuclear. The analysis uses the UK Treasury’s modeling of excess profits from electricity generation over the next two years.
TUC reminded that many other countries have publicly owned energy companies that build power stations, generate electricity, and return their profits to the nation.
“If the UK today had a public energy champion like EDF in France, EnBW in Germany, or Vattenfall in Sweden, the UK government could use the excess profits made – equivalent to between $2,425 and $4,745 per UK household – to reduce bills and accelerate home insulation roll-out,” the Trades Union Congress stated.
Instead, due to its history of privatization, the UK is forecast to miss out on between $67.8 billion and $131.3 billion in public revenues over the next two years. This could have covered much of the cost of the government’s new Energy Price Guarantee.
TUC said that the UK will transition away from fossil fuel power stations and towards renewable energy in the coming years. It argues that this should also be a transition towards giving people a proper stake in the nation’s energy assets.
The union body is calling for the UK government to set up a public energy champion to accelerate decarbonization, create green jobs, and share the benefits of the climate transition with the population. Unions say that a public ownership approach would provide the nation with a more secure energy supply, lower bills for households in the long run, and a safer climate future.
“Every family deserves access to affordable, clean energy. But privatization has led to higher bills and colder homes. We need a fairer, greener approach that stops energy companies from using UK families like cash machines. French, Swedish, and German families benefit from public ownership of electricity – why shouldn’t we? If we set up our own UK public energy champion, we can have lower bills, free home improvements to reduce our energy needs, and a safer climate for future generations.”
“The green transition gives us the chance to take public stakes in clean power as we expand our renewable energy supply. And cheaper bills are not the only benefit. We can make sure that our national energy champion provides high-quality jobs, with good pay and job security too,” TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said.