Outlook: So much for the free market
Tuesday 09 June 1998
Before anyone gets too sanctimonious it should be recognised that energy generation has never been a perfect market. Governments of all hues have interfered in it at will for reasons of dogma and political expediency. Generally, the consumer has been the loser. The previous government imposed a nuclear levy on every electricity bill to make sure the country could never again be held to ransom by the miners. Until the coal crisis burst in just before Christmas, the present administration was happy to keep the dash for gas going at full pelt.
Now ministers have given in to the argument that a guaranteed section of the market should be kept aside for coal. Issues such as whether it is price-competitive and the environmental impact of burning more coal come a poor second to the overriding objective of preserving the pits. Thus the generators will have their arms twisted to buy more coal from RBJ Mining, with the threat that a break-up of their cosy monopoly may otherwise be on the horizon. The trade off is that a halt on further gas- fired power stations means no new competition in the generating market.
This is a poor excuse for an energy policy - as the Labour dominated Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee is about to observe. Worse, it is a missed opportunity for Labour to demonstrate that it means what it says when it talks about open markets.
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
Winston Churchill: From accusations of anti-Semitism to the blunt refusal that led to the deaths of millions
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...