A Labour government would not renationalise the Big Six energy companies and instead "democratise" the industry, according to Lisa Nandy. The shadow energy secretary said the party wants to "put people back in charge" by pushing for every community in the UK to own a clean energy power station.

"This winter, British energy reserves will be at such low levels, we could be forced to buy in emergency supplies," she said at the Labour annual conference in Brighton. "Once again, families and businesses [are] ripped off because of energy decisions beyond their control. Well, we want to put people back in charge. But Jeremy and I don't want to nationalise energy. We want to do something far more radical – we want to democratise it."

She added: "There should be nothing to stop every community in this country owning its own clean energy power station. Across the country, schools are already taking the initiative and going solar. Generating power and heat for their own use.

"With the right support, community-based energy companies and cooperatives could be a new powerhouse, and a path to a more secure energy future."

The speech confirms Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has U-turned over his promise to take British Gas, SSE, E.ON, RWE Npower, Scottish Power and EDF as well as the National Grid into public ownership if he gained victory at the 2020 general election.

"I would want the public ownership of the gas and the National Grid. I would personally wish that the big six were under public control, or public ownership in some form," Corbyn had told The Financial Times in August.

The move would have reportedly cost £185bn ($280bn) based on the companies' entire stock market valuations, according to investment bank Jefferies. But it said the nationalisation would be reduced to £124bn if Corbyn's administration just purchased the firm's UK assets.