The Government’s Energy Select Committee has proposed breaking up National Grid, the company tasked with operating the entire UK electricity and gas network.
MP Angus Brendan MacNeil said the proposals to move to an American style independent system operator model came in response to concerns about conflicts of interest with the current national provider.
The new system would see an independent operator take over the long-distance electricity network while smaller operators would handle local systems, allowing for power generation to take place on a smaller scale, such as local wind farms and solar arrays.
While it is refreshing to see a government committee come out with a proposal that recognises the value of replacing a national body with smaller localised providers, whether or not this proposal gets implemented remains to be seen.
Such a proposal is likely to incur the wrath of the left, with headlines such as ‘National Grid Should Be Broken Up’ likely to inflame worries of increased prices and fragmentation of the system.
The plans also draw attention to the partially privatised yet heavily government controlled nature of the energy industry.
It will be interesting to see just how far these proposals get in a government that often seems to have lost sight of the free-market principles that gave it such clear vision in the 1980s and 1990s.