25 September 2013
Ecotricity founder Dale Vince today called for Ed Miliband to go further than thoughts of a price freeze and consider either renationalising the energy industry, or introducing proper regulation.
Vince said: “It’s not a forced price freeze we need, it’s an overhaul of the entire industry – renationalising could well be a solution. We certainly need some way of repatriating our energy bills, of turning those bills into an updated grid and new sources of energy –rather than profits going out of the country through some of the Big Six, four of which are foreign owned.
“It was taxpayer’s money that built our energy infrastructure, that built the grid in Britain, and the Big Six energy companies have profited greatly from it since privatisation. Well, now that infrastructure needs replacing, the privatised model is becoming unstuck.
“Our energy industry is simply not fit for purpose anymore. We therefore support Miliband’s call for the end of OFGEM – the regulator has simply failed to control the industry.
“Proper regulation is another alternative – make investment a license condition and control profits. It has worked to an extent with the water companies, and it is certainly possible for the energy industry to similarly balance investment in infrastructure without runaway consumer bills.”
Ecotricity already announced this month that they would cut the price of their 100% Green Electricity tariff from Tuesday 1st October, in order to undercut the standard tariffs of the Big Six energy companies – which until now they had always price matched.
Vince continued: “People are frustrated with their bills, with the industry. But while Miliband’s idea of a forced price freeze is an attractive, maybe vote-winning idea, I’m not sure how it would work in principle for the energy industry. And if the Government begins freezing energy prices, where does it stop? Will they freeze petrol or food prices too?
“Ecotricity is producing more and more of its own energy, through our fleet of wind and sun mills, and that means we can now be price independent. We are turning our bills into new mills, into new sources of renewable energy – we need a British energy industry that does the same.”
On average, Ecotricity spends more per customer on building new sources of green energy than all other energy providers in Britain put together – on average, over the last nine years, this has equated to almost £300 per customer.
Vince: “Ecotricity’s model shows what can be done if we repurpose energy bills, if we rethink our priorities and focus on new sources of renewable energy, not shareholder profits.”
Vince has previously pointed to the Distribution Networks as an example of a largely foreign owned industry that limits investment in British energy infrastructure.
Ecotricity currently powers over 75,000 homes and businesses and this year obtained permission for what will be the fourth largest wind park in England, at Heckington Fen in Lincolnshire.