A former executive at oil company BP has called for an end to energy price cap hikes and nationalization of suppliers who fail to help families pay bills.
Nick Butler, who worked at BP for nearly 30 years and was the group’s vice president of strategy and development, said the expected cap increase should be abandoned by industry regulator Offgame, which he described as “overwhelmed by events”. The turmoil in global energy markets has hit 29 UK energy retailers.
Butler is also calling for a “forensic investigation” into the remaining suppliers’ accounts to ensure they are still a viable business.
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Offgame is expected to announce a price range increase next week that will protect consumers. This could mean annual bills increase from £1,971 to £3,582 on average.
Butler, Gordon Brown’s senior policy adviser, echoed the former Prime Minister’s view that energy companies unable to offer low bills should be nationalized again.
Writing for the Guardian, Butler said: “As was the case in the financial sector in 2008, if the private energy sector fails to meet the needs of the society it serves, its functions will have to be taken over by government. Now the companies involved must show that they understand that they must use their skills and resources in the public interest.”
Butler’s comments come as the government is exploring options to help families facing soaring utility bills this winter. His former employer BP was accused of “autocratic profiteering” during the energy crisis, helped by a surge in wholesale oil and gas prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
BP and other North Sea oil and gas operators have been hit by an unexpected tax on their profits, which aims to rake in £5bn. Labor has proposed extending the levy to further support consumers.
Butler said the moratorium on energy price caps was “necessary but far from sufficient,” arguing that government and industry must take more action to help struggling households, such as B. “Prepayment of meters”. Eliminate “harmful additional fees imposed on users”. ,
Butler, who was the founding chair of the Policy Institute at King’s College London and is an energy policy adviser at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, also urged the government to take steps to secure additional gas supplies for the winter and reduce domestic consumption. , as was the case with other European nations.
He warned there could be a “real and significant” shortage if France and Norway decide to limit shipments to the UK this winter. “As we head into a new winter of discontent, the only hope is that the current crisis will bring us back to the details of the matter and grim energy policies.”