Gazprom set to be nationalised as energy sector’s collapse continues

Gazprom set to be nationalised as energy sector’s collapse continues 

It seems extraordinary that the current Conservative Government is likely to nationalise the energy retail company Gazprom in the coming days following its collapse due to Russian sanctions writes Harry Mottram.

It follows the special administration of Bulb earlier this year which the tax payer is now propping up to the tune of £1.7 million which is nationalisation in all but name ensuring their suppliers can be paid and the 1,000 staff kept on.

More than 20 energy firms went out of business last year leaving thousands of workers out of a job, many suppliers and landlords out of pocket and the energy market in a mess.

To cap it all gas and electricity are now double what they were for the average domestic user compared to when the utilities were privatised with prices set to shoot up further.

Back in 1996 under Margaret Thatcher’s Government gas was privatised with electricity following four years later. In those less confusing days, you were simply supplied with your regional area nationalised utility. There was no real competition which led to inefficient and poor service which privatisation was supposed to cure. Many embraced the newly privatised industries investing in shares and starting their own smaller companies which in a quarter of a century saw dozens of new suppliers and initially a slight drop in prices.

Fast forward to today and even some Conservatives who welcomed privatisation now see the call to bring the big six (British Gas, EDF, E.on, npower, Scottish Power and SSE) back under Government control not such a bad idea.

For hard pressed businesses keeping a cap on energy prices has become a nightmare with prices set to double this year – that is enough to force many to down-size and shed staff. These price hikes may not be entirely to do with privatisation but the open market certainly hasn’t helped. But it will be no comfort to businesses to know that the Netherlands and France where energy companies are state owned that prices are not being hiked like they are here.

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