Shadow minister Luke Pollard argues for renationalising the water sector to achieve carbon targets and address the system that "disincentivises" improvements. He described the water sector as "one of the most carbon intensive industries".
Frontier Economics, analysing Labour’s Bringing Energy Home plan at the request of the Energy Networks Association (ENA), has said the wholesale changes proposed would divert resources and investment, act as a disruption to innovation and increase costs to customers.
The past week has seen renewed calls for the nationalisation of utilities, coming amid reports of underperformance at some water firms and surveys showing public scepticism about the wider industry’s impact on society. James Wallin asks whether we are making it too easy for under-researched renationalisation policies to capture the public imagination, and looks at how a defence can be mounted.
The group pushing for renationalisation of the water industry has urged shareholders – particularly those representing pension funds – to exit their investments in the sector now. We Own It told Utility Week that the value put on the sector should take into account the dividends paid to shareholders over the years, which it estimates at £56 billion. Water UK has called its plan "fundamentally flawed".
Trade body Water UK has proposed companies “retain the benefit of private sector investment” but champion the public interest in their operations in response to a Labour consultation on renationalisation.
Current political turmoil could result in a general election, and with a prospective Labour government bent on taking utilities back into public ownership, fund managers need to weigh the risks, says analyst Nigel Hawkins