29 August 2003
Wake up call for Scottish energy industry
Last night's massive power cut in London following similar problems
in New York should act as a loud wake up call to the energy industry
regulator Ofgem and to government energy policy, says the energy
The union also said that parts of the Scottish system are just
as much as risk as those in London. The Tube's new reliance on a
Private Finance Initiative (PFI) power station should also act as
warning to government over its policy of relying on private finance
to run essential services.
UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Utilities Dave Watson said: "This
incident should be a wake up call to government over the current
direction of energy policy. The tube carried on during the blitz
- but not through the PFI regime. The shambles of our privatised
energy system will soon cripple Scotland's economy unless realistic
decisions are taken soon."
UNISON has repeatedly warned that the pursuit of cheap electricity
is resulting in an under-investment in Scotland's energy infrastructure.
There are two main concerns: - Cost cutting on the network imposed
by Ofgem means that there is little incentive for the privatised
electricity companies to invest at the levels needed to guarantee
secure supply. - We need to take realistic decisions now, on Scotland's
long term electricity supply.
It is simply unrealistic to expect renewable energy alone to replace
the power generated by Scotland's current nuclear and coal power
The alternative is to rely on gas imported from central Asia, along
pipelines that are far from secure. Recent terrorist attacks on
oil pipelines in Iraq vividly highlight the risks.
UNISON Scotland has published its own proposals "A Scottish Energy
Strategy" which calls for a planned energy policy that provides
safe, secure and sustainable generation. Details on the UNISON Scotland
For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser
- Utilities) 0845 355 0845(w) 07787 558410(m) Chris Bartter (Communications
Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)