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Campaigns: Nationalise the Utilities
Re-nationalise NIE

By Warren McCullough

How many of you as NIE customers realise that you are paying for a £24million computer and administrative system that is lying idle?

The quango that is the Utility Regulator set this system up two years ago to create a domestic electricity market in Northern Ireland, supposedly to introduce ‘competition’. The cost of this farce is being shouldered by households who are paying around £100 more than they were at this time last year.

On top of this the Utility Regulator has squandered over £6million on ‘consultant’ fees. The result of all this is Northern Ireland has the highest electricity prices throughout Ireland and Britain, with price increases of 42% since last year! The Utility Regulator is a joke. You can be sure he hasn’t had to choose whether to eat or heat. Single people, single parents, unemployed families, struggling working families, have all had to make these choices.

The worst hit were our pensioners, more than 500 perished because of the incompetence of those who are supposed to help us. Maybe it is time the Socialist Party had a more permanent presence outside the Regulator’s office.

Support for campaign unsettles NIE

Nationalise the Utilities Campaign
c/o 13 Lombard St


Kerstie Forsyth
NIE Energy Supply
Woodchester House
50 Newforge Lane

23rd February 2009

Dear Ms Forsyth,

Thank you for your letter posted on 17th February regarding the ‘Correction of information on ‘Nationalise the Utilities Campaign’ leaflet and Socialist Party NI website’.

However, we do not agree with what you claim are corrections to our leaflet.

It is understood by the overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland that they are being ripped off by the private energy companies who are making huge profits. The fact that over 500 elderly people died from cold related deaths last year in Northern Ireland is a major scandal. This is the real consequence of rises in energy bills.

If NIE was sincere in it’s claim to take ‘the issue of fuel hardship very seriously’ it would immediately reverse the price rises in full. We are not hopeful that NIE will do so. That is why we are campaigning for the energy companies to be taken back into public ownership and run democratically in the interests of people, not to make profits.

Your interest in our campaign literature indicates that you are taking notice of the support our campaign is generating. We will be sure to publicise the correspondence between us to encourage debate over who should own and control utilities.

Yours truly,

Daniel Waldron,

On behalf of Nationalise the Utilities Campaign

Letter from NIE Energy
pdf of original letter from NIE Energy HERE

PRESS RELEASE 10 September 2008

Socialist Party calls for nationalisation of energy companies

‘If the Government can spend billions bailing out the banks, they can bail out hard-pressed families by taking control of the energy sector’ – Peter Hadden

The Socialist Party has called on the Government to nationalise Phoenix Gas and Northern Ireland Electricity in response to “the completely unjustifiable price increases, which are solely designed to protect the profits of these monopolies.”

Peter Hadden, Regional Secretary of the Socialist Party, echoed calls made by unions at the TUC Congress being held in Brighton for “the energy firms to be brought into public ownership and run democratically in the interests of ordinary people.”

Mr Hadden explained “These price increases are a direct result of privatisation. The only thing these companies are concerned about is protecting their profits at the expense of workers already struggling to make ends meet.

“Regulation has been devastatingly exposed as a cover for these companies ripping off working class families. The only way to provide affordable gas and electricity is to bring these companies back into public ownership, and run democratically in the interests of people not big business.”