Could the National Grid Be Nationalised?

Could the National Grid Be Nationalised?

How Labour’s plans to take the National Grid into public ownership could see Britain taking back control of its gas and electrical infrastructure.

If you were born before 1980, you might remember the time when our water, electricity, and gas was in public ownership. In our neck of the woods this meant Yorkshire Water, the Yorkshire Electricity Board, and the North Eastern Gas Board. Outside Hull, our telephones were publicly owned by the GPO. Since the 1920s, the National Grid referred to (and still does to this day) our electricity supply. Before 1990, it was part of the CEGB (the Central Electricity Generating Board).

The National Grid has been a Public Limited Company since 1990. In a bid to take back control of our gas and electricity infrastructure, Labour would like to see the National put back into the grid. At present, it is owned by a consortium which includes CIC Capital, investment bank Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, and the Qatar Investment Authority. CIC Capital is owned by the Chinese government. National Grid plc has a 39% shareholding.

If elected on the 08 June 2017, a Labour Government would: “Regain control of energy supply networks through the alteration of operator licence conditions, and transition to a publicly owned, decentralised energy system.”

As well as our electricity pylons and gas pipes, this also extends to Distribution Network Operator (DNO) Companies. In other words, the companies who maintain your substations and electrical supplies at a local level. Before privatisation, the CEGB supplied electricity to our electricity boards. They not only maintained the electrical supply at local level: they were also your supplier. Therefore, the YEB maintained your substations and kept your lights on at home.

If the electorate shuns strong and stable in favour of the many and not the few, a newly nationalised National Grid could supply electricity to a new wave of electricity boards. According to the manifesto, there are no plans to renationalise your energy suppliers. Alternatively, they support the development of new publicly owned suppliers, or energy co-ops, as an alternative to the likes of E-on and EDF Energy.

Mertech Electrical, 22 May 2017.


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