We must “renationalise” foreign-owned energy assets, says former Labour energy advisor


Kevin McCullough, the chief executive of UK Coal, has lashed out at foreign firms that own vast swaths of the UK’s power generation system from coal to nuclear.

McCullough, who advised Labour leader Ed Miliband when he was Energy Secretary, said yesterday that it was a matter of “national security” to claw back ownership of key power utilities.

“The UK is heading towards potential disaster with current energy policies and we need to think again — and quickly,” McCullough said in a statement.

He took particular aim at German-owned RWE and E.ON, France’s EDF and the Spanish-owned ScottishPower saying:

“Almost all of our energy — covering conventional generating plant and nearly all of our nuclear facilities — is provided by international and overseas companies, with decisions made in distant boardrooms like a high-stakes game of Dragons’ Den.

“They decide on where they invest. While profits remain healthy they will stay committed, but have little other loyalty to the UK as they need to satisfy shareholders and boards sitting in other capital cities.”

The outcry comes after Miliband announced Labour’s intentions to freeze energy bill increases until 2017 if elected, a move McCullough dismissed as “hot air” and insufficiently radical.

“I am not the enemy of free markets, but we must reset the playing field by getting the renationalisation of essential parts of our energy infrastructure on the agenda and quickly,” he said.

“Renationalisation is a taboo. It is an embarrassment because it calls for leadership.”