Bulb latest: Demands to nationalise energy provider as taxpayer forks out in bail out | UK | News

Bulb, which was the seventh largest energy company in the UK, collapsed in 2021. The company could be bailed out by the Government, as energy prices hit record levels.

We Own It, a group campaigning “against privatisation and for 21st century public ownership”, launched a petition to nationalise Bulb.

The private energy firm collapsed in November 2021 with 1.7million customers, but the Treasury set aside £1.7billion to allow the company to continue to operate while administrators worked to restructure or sell off the business.

Octopus Energy is currently in talks to buy Bulb, however it is understood that Octopus has previously asked the government for £1billion in taxpayer funding to take over the firm.

As a result, the campaign group has argued that by taking control of an energy company, the UK would be able to dampen the rising costs of energy for households.

In their petition, We Own It said: “Private energy company Bulb collapsed in November 2021 and the government is planning on spending £2.2billion to prop it up – the biggest state bailout since the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2008.

“Apparently the government is ‘desperate to do a deal’ to get Bulb back in the private sector – right now it’s considering giving a further £1billion to private company Octopus to take over the company.

“This makes no sense. Other countries like France, Germany, Italy and the US all have public suppliers of energy.

“The government could take Bulb’s 1.7million customers as the basis of a new publicly owned energy supply company.”

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It comes as Investec forecasts the cap will increase from its current level of £1,971 per year for the average household to £3,523 on October 1, an increase of 79 percent, while Cornwall Insights suggests £3,582.

The cap is expected to increase again on January 1 and then even further on April 1, although forecasts beyond this year remain subject to significant uncertainty.

On August 4, Investec forecast an increase in the cap to £4,210 on January 1.

By August 9, Cornwall Insights was forecasting £4,266 for January and £4,426 from April.

By August 10, Auxilione was putting the January price cap at £4,467 and its forecast for April reached £5,038.

Meanwhile, energy firms Centrica and Octopus have backed plans to freeze UK energy bills for two years.

The Guardian reported the two firms also support creating a multibillion-pound facility to spread the cost of an emergency funding package over a decade.

Their fellow suppliers ScottishPower and Eon have presented plans to ministers for the “tariff deficit fund” underpinned by a government guarantee.

Under the proposals, reported by the Sunday Times, commercial banks would put cash into the state-backed fund, which suppliers could then draw on to fund measures to freeze customers’ default-tariff bills at the current price cap, £1,971, for two years.

The cost of the scheme would then be paid back over 10 to 15 years through a surcharge on bills or via taxation.

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