Will Tory MPs have the guts to force the Government to face up to its energy responsibility? - Yorkshire Post Letters
It comes as quite a shock to realise that no one under 50 years old can have any living memory of the electricity cuts of the three day week (January - March 1974). Homes then were subject to frequent, planned black outs and Britain’s production of goods and services was slashed.
Once again our country faces perilous energy insecurity.
Your readers will be only too familiar with the personal insecurity from fear of being unable to pay rocketing energy bills. They will probably remember that the Government allowed the largest gas storage facility to close down in 2017 - leaving Britain with storage of just two per cent of annual demand compared to 25 per cent in the rest of Europe. They may, however, have missed recent reports of two incidents that illustrate further energy insecurity from failing infrastructure.
In July Britain had to buy electricity from Belgium at 5,000 times the normal price. Without it parts of the capital would have had no power during the heatwave. The National Grid could not cope because of a distribution ‘bottleneck’.
In parts of London no new housing estates, commercial premises or industrial activities will be allowed electrical connections because the grid will not have sufficient capacity until 2035. The National Grid Company is said to be ‘working on the problem’ but work could take years.
The National Grid is operated by a private company that made a profit of £4.4bn last year. In March it agreed to sell the gas network to foreign owned companies and only now has the Government said it will review that sale under new ‘national security rules’.
Ideological obsession with ‘free markets’ has produced a bewildering mash-up of producers, suppliers, distributors, contractors and ineffective regulators with no transparency or accountability to citizens.
Ensuring that homes, schools, hospitals, work places and industries have adequate, affordable and secure energy supplies is a prime responsibility of the national Government.
The ‘Energy Security Bill’ promised in the Queen's Speech has become merely an Energy Bill - long on words but short on credible measures.
As it goes through Parliament, will Yorkshire’s Conservative MPs have the guts and integrity to force their Government to face up to its responsibility to ensure a secure, affordable energy supply?