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STUC 2008



Planning needed as market fails energy future

by John Stevenson

Dave Watson
Dave Watson

The energy market has failed consumers, especially the ‘fuel poor', UNISON Scottish Organiser Dave Watson told the STUC Congress.

Between 2003 and 2006 households paid £8.2 billion or 60% more for gas and electricity. The excuse was a rise in wholesale costs but a UNISON study found that only accounted for £5.9 billion of the increase, "leaving a golden hole of increased profit margins of a staggering £2.3 billion", said Dave.

"What was Ofgem's reaction? Firstly to deny market failure, then when the facts and the noise became irresistible, announce an inquiry. What they should have said is that the so-called market they created has failed. Let's go back to planning our energy future", added Dave.

A balanced energy policy is needed to ensure security of supply. Renewable energy has great potential but Dave pointed to the planning objections to wind power or the cable needed to transmit the power.

"Amazing how many people are in favour of the next technology, as long as it isn't in their backyard", he said.

Much was made of the existing renewables in Scotland and Dave reminded delegates that much of that came from Tom Johnson, a Labour Secretary of State who had "the vision and powers to deliver this generating capacity after the Second World War, Does anyone really believe that the current market mechanisms would deliver that level of change?" asked Dave.


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