Tag Archives: electricity

The case for state ownership or control of water and electricity

As many friends know, I now live in a seaside town in Greece.

I have been reflecting on the cost of living here and, in particular, the cost of water and electricity, compared to the UK.

I have just paid my first water bill. For six months I have paid 37€. It’s not that I don’t use water, I do. I have a washing machine and a dishwasher, I clean the car, I water the garden and of course I shower and shave daily. Compare that with the £25 a month I was paying in Mytholmroyd, which I left just over a year ago. I suspect it’s gone up now.

My most recent electricity bill was 134€ for a month and the Greek government subsidies me by 159€ a month. My house is all electric with AC units which double up as heaters in the winter and there are pumps on both the cold-water supply and the solar water heating panel. My cooker is electric. I believe that were I still in the UK I would be paying around £450 a month for my previous flat. This means that electricity in 74% more expensive in the UK even if I had no subsidy in Greece. With the subsidy my electricity bill is 280% less than in the UK.

Now, Greece is not a particularly wealthy country. It recently went through a major financial crisis and much that the state had done before has been lost. Water, however, is run by local councils. In the UK water is owned by private companies and the costs are exorbitant and the directors grossly overpaid.

My electricity company in Greece DEH is the former state-owned electricity company. Yet, it is not charging grossly inflated prices and people are being helped with their electricity bills. Sure, it’s slow to act and there are power cuts sometimes (mainly due to weather like thunderstorms), but it is providing a service at affordable prices. It is clearly regulated and behaves reasonably.

The conclusion I draw from this is twofold.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 34 Comments

Ed Davey MP writes…Big boost for investment in renewable electricity

It may seem to Lib Dem Voice readers that important energy announcements are a bit like buses. You wait some time for one and then several come along together. So hard on the heels of Monday’s energy bills package today Danny Alexander announced the final strike prices for renewable technologies and also which companies had qualified for the final stage of being awarded early investment contracts. This is good news for investment in the UK’s infrastructure and good news for our move to a low carbon economy.

On the back of these announcements we expect an additional £40 billion of …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Lib Dem voters’ views on green energy

A poll commissioned by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth has revealed some useful data about the  attitudes of Liberal Democrat voters to green energy.

It found that more than half of those who voted Liberal Democrat in 2010 said they would be more likely to do so again if the Liberal Democrats took action on carbon-free electricity generation.

It asked:

The Government’s advisors, the Committee on Climate Change, have said that to meet our climate change commitments the UK must switch to almost entirely carbon-free electricity by 2030.

Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for the Liberal

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