Does Uber business model work in UK's essential sectors?

But it’s a business whose present fortunes tell you something about why the game of buying energy and selling it on to consumers has been so hard hit by the pandemic, and why the UK energy regulator might now have to bail out some of the participants.  Founded in 2015, Bulb set out to “disrupt” the gas and electricity market using the same sort of land-grab tactics as tech ventures such as Deliveroo and Uber. Video: No quick economic bounce back warns Chancellor (Press Association) It all worked — sort of — in the pre-virus economy. Incumbents had to respond to avoid seeing their customer bases picked clean, leading to wider losses and restructuring. But when bad debts build up in an essential service like the electricity supply system, it is problematic.  The regulator can’t take the risk of customers being disrupted. That’s why it has been talking about offering financial assistance to certain unnamed players, whose own high-risk strategies have potentially left them in the soup. Britain’s largest chain, HC-One, which paid a dividend last year, noted in its accounts that the crisis could prove so severe that it would “cast a doubt on its ability tocontinue as a going concern”. Even if the pay-off isn’t truly symmetrical, because limited liability does in practice offer some downside shield.  But in certain essential sectors of the economy, squaring this public-private balance gets more tricky. The public rightly balks at entrepreneurs being invited to play financial games, knowing always that the taxpayer might have to pick up any resulting mess. Two decades of privatisation — now being rolled back — has not changed the fact that the cost of running the UK’s railway network is 40 per cent higher than in Europe, according to a 2011 report from Sir Roy McNulty. Many of the returns that private owners have attributed to “efficiencies” in sectors such as airports and water have had more to do with high debt than quantum leaps in reducing operating costs.