Why the lights went out on 9 August

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 08:58

Luke Hardy

On 9 August a series of blackouts affected more than one million homes, the rail and tube networks, hospitals, and traffic lights.

The long term issues that affect energy security are being made much worse by the fragmented, privatised and profit-hungry mess of the UK energy sector.

The buffer between supply on the network and demand has been squeezed. This squeeze is mainly down to how the energy market works.

The National Grid pays for energy in a virtual auction. They shell out more per unit to the generator companies when they need to meet peak demand. So generators can make money while

Diary of an engineer

Published on: Wed, 17/07/2019 - 07:17

Emma Rickman

I’m a first year engineering apprentice at a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant in Sheffield.

The plant takes domestic black bin waste and burns it at high temperatures to heat steam, which drives a turbine and an electricity generator.

The excess steam from the turbine is then used to heat water, which is pumped around the city to heat buildings — such as the local swimming pool.

This morning I cycled the two miles to work in the sunshine, all downhill. Because it’s midsummer, lots of work is taking place on the District Heating network while demand for heat is low, so my route passed a lot

Corbyn pledges more public ownership: Nationalise utilities and banks!

Published on: Wed, 14/02/2018 - 12:23

Editorial from Solidarity 462

Speaking at a Labour Party event on 10 February, Jeremy Corbyn reaffirmed Labour’s 2017 manifesto pledge “to bring energy, rail, water, and mail into public ownership and to put democratic management at the heart of how those industries are run”.

“By taking our public services back into public hands”, he said, “we will not only put a stop to rip-off monopoly pricing, we will put our shared values and collective goals at the heart of how those public services are run”. He promised “a society which puts its most valuable resources, the creations of our collective

The Monthly Survey

Published on: Fri, 25/07/2014 - 20:14

Socialists must support Scottish self-determination (Dale Street)
Labours maundy money (Martin Thomas)
The Fragile Middle East peace (Mike Fenwick)
TUC leaders bow down to Blair
Tories come clean on the welfare state (Jill Mountford)
Northern Ireland: still in stalemate (Jack Cleary)
Bosnia still needs solidarity (Chris Reynolds)

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Job cuts at Npower. Expropriate the energy industry!

Published on: Tue, 03/12/2013 - 19:48

Energy giant Npower has said it will make 1,460 staff redundant. Their jobs will be outsourced overseas.

Offices in Stoke, Peterlee, Thornaby in Teesside, and Oldbury in the West Midlands are being shut. Other affected sites are in the north east and Leeds. 540 office workers will be transferred to Capita.

Workers being made redundant are back office workers; the workers being transferred are call centre staff. There may be more redundancies, sell offs and outsourcing, which will effect thousands more staff.

Despite Npower’s Gernman parent group RWE being in trouble, profits are still being

For social ownership of the energy industry!

Published on: Tue, 19/11/2013 - 17:41

The National Audit Office has predicted 17 years of above inflation rises in energy bills. 

They conservatively also predict a 18% increase in energy prices in real terms by 2030. They particularly warn of how it will hit the poorest in society.

The Tory-led government has been stung by attacks from Labour and by the general anger shown by working class people about these bills. They  have upped their rhetoric against the energy companies. The Lib Dem energy minister Ed Davey pleaded for energy companies to stop treating  users like “cash cows”. The government  now appears to be being

Berlin reverses privatisation

Published on: Tue, 19/11/2013 - 17:38

On 3 November, 600,000 Berliners voted in a referendum to take back the local electricity production and supply into public ownership — 83% of those who voted.

This is only 150,000 less than the combined vote of the Social Democrat and conservative Christian Democrat parties (who run the federal state of Berlin) in the last regional elections. The referendum was held after around 230,000 signatures had been collected by the “Berliner Energietisch” campaign, calling for democratic control over and public ownership of the energy supply (and of other basic necessities), 100% green energy, any

Take the power!

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2013 - 11:14

Thousands of people in Britain will die needlessly this winter because they can’t afford to heat their homes adequately. Many hundreds of thousands more will have to chose between heating and eating.

Since Ed Miliband spoke on energy prices at Labour Conference, a debate has been raging on snug TV sofas and in temperature-controlled offices of newspapers about how energy prices are affecting people and what sticking-plaster policy will play well in key marginals. Scarcely mentioned, though, has been the real answer: take the energy companies into public ownership and put them under democratic

Metronet workers strike on London Underground

Published on: Fri, 31/08/2007 - 11:59

Metronet maintenance workers on the London Underground are scheduled to strike for 72 hours from 18:00 on September 3, and again from 18:00 on September 10 over jobs, transfers and pensions arising out of Metronet's collapse and its being placed in administration. the rail union RMT has also called a demonstration on 4 September, 11:30 to 13:00, at DFT, Marsham St, London SW1, to demand that the Metronet contracts be kept in the public sector.

The union reports: RMT has told LUL that unless it receives unconditional assurances that drivers will not be expected to drive trains that have not

No water? Say: "We won’t pay!"

Published on: Sun, 16/07/2006 - 11:48

BY Gerry Bates

Dick Turpin, the highwayman, rules — OK! Or is it The Joker from the Batman comics, the playful larceny-obsessed lunatic who delights in having his armed gang inflict his fantasy-addled, power-mad pranks on those he robs?

Has London turned into Gotham City? Or has London mysteriously turned into some town in an old B-movie Western, where the robbers have made themselves masters — backed by armed stooge sheriff and a robber-serving town council — to prey on the hard-pressed honest citizens?

In any case, “Stand And Deliver”, the legendary cry of the armed robber, pointing a

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