Scottish Greens call for energy policy to be devolved to Holyrood

Greens demand Scotland controls energy and regulation in light of UK Government policy 

THE Scottish Greens have called for energy policy and the regulatory framework that governs it to be fully devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

The comments were made in response to the call by the GMB Union for the UK Government to scrap the national energy regulator Ofgem after disappointment in what the GMB called "ineffectual reforms".

The union also inferred that the only way to run a "fair energy system" was for energy regulation to not be done by the UK Government and Ofgem but by the Scottish Parliament.

"It would make much more sense for energy policy to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament." Scottish Greens

In a statement to CommonSpace, a spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said: "Neither Ofgem nor their political bosses at the UK Government have shown an ability to run a fair energy system.

"The UK Government’s record on energy policy continues to fail, especially considering that Theresa May abolished the DECC, the department that dealt with climate change, in her first week in office.

"It would make much more sense for energy policy to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament."

Ofgem, the UK energy regulator, outlined its approach to the remedies recommended to the Competition & Market Authority (CMA) on 3 August, saying it would deliver a more competitive and fairer energy market for consumers.

The CMA’s two-year investigation, which concluded last month, confirmed that two thirds of households are disengaged and paying over the odds for their energy compared to those who have switched tariff.

"Neither Ofgem nor their political bosses at the UK Government have shown an ability to run a fair energy system." Scottish Greens

Additionally, Ofgem promised to introduce price controls for customers on pre-payment meters next spring, which would be the first since the UK energy sector was privatised more than 15 years ago.

These price controls would last until 2020 at which point a database would be introduced allowing rival suppliers to offer better deals to those on standard variable rates.

The reforms are aimed at freeing up competition and innovation in the market to drive down bills and improve service for all consumers, not just a minority of those apt at 'smart switching'.

Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan said: "The CMA’s final report is a watershed moment for industry and consumers and points the way to a fairer and more competitive future. 

"I call on energy companies and consumer groups to seize this opportunity."

However, the GMB was not convinced that the reforms are thorough enough, stating its belief that the government was not taking the decisions needed to maintain energy supply, security and ensure the decarbonisation of the sector.

"Government should also have powers to cap prices and limit profit levels and, where necessary, to finance and run power stations." Justin Bowden, GMB

"Here we go again with more Ofgem tinkering over the pretence that a free market is possible in this sector," said Justin Bowden, GMB national secretary for energy.

"Ofgem should be abolished and the government itself should take over responsibility for regulating the industry so both are accountable to parliament," he continued.

He added: "Government should also have powers to cap prices and limit profit levels and, where necessary, to finance and run power stations."

Since the formation of the new cabinet under new prime minister Theresa May, the UK abolished the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and has cancelled the onshore wind subsidy affecting investment and the prospect of jobs in Scotland.

Pictures courtesy of Mark Turnauckas

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.