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    Energy firms should cut prices or be nationalised: former UK PM Brown


The former prime minister urged the government to act fast, compelling energy companies to offer lower prices or be brought into public ownership.

by: NGW

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Energy firms should cut prices or be nationalised: former UK PM Brown

Former UK prime minister Gordon Brown has called for energy companies to be brought into public ownership unless they can offer cheaper bills, and for the government to step in to negotiate lower prices.

In an commentary for the Guardian newspaper, he said critical decisions needed to be made within days, adding that voluntary cuts in energy usage should "be agreed upon now when the weather is good if we are to prevent rationing later when the weather turns bad."

"And windfall profits and bonuses have to be properly taxed now before the money flees the country," he said.

Taking aim at the ruling Conservative party, the ex-Labour PM said: "time and tide wait for no one. Neither do crises. They don't take holidays, and don't politely hang fire – certainly not to suit the convenience of a departing PM and the whims of two potential successors."

Brown's comments come as reports have emerged that the UK is preparing for potential planned blackouts this winter that would affect both industry and households, in the event that below-average temperatures coincide with gas supply shortages. Meanwhile, consultancy Cornwall Insights warned on August 9 that it expected the energy price cap for households to be raised to £4,266 ($5,150) annually in the first three months of next year, up from £2,000 at present.

Brown called on the government to "pause any further increase in the cap," and then negotiate agreements with companies to keep prices down after evaluating profit margins and available social tariffs.