HC Deb 09 July 1968 vol 768 cc195-6
31. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Minister of Power if he will give a general direction to the area gas boards to take steps at their own expense to convert domestic gas appliances for the use of natural gas; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeson

No, Sir. The boards are already doing this. Under the Gas Act, 1948, they must meet the cost of converting consumers' appliances to use natural gas.

Mr. Dempsey

Is my hon. Friend therefore giving the House an assurance that the Scottish Gas Board will be responsible for the cost of the total conversion of all gas appliances that will be using this supply of natural gas, in view of the fact that gas prices are much higher in Scotland than in England and Wales?

Mr. Freeson

The Scottish Gas Board is in precisely the same position as every other area gas board, in that it will undertake the conversion and will not charge individual consumers.

35. Mr. Lubbock

asked the Minister of Power in what areas the gas supply to consumers has been converted to natural gas; and what has been the average cost per consumer in each case.

Mr. Mason

Conservion programmes have been started in six of the gas board areas. Only a very small proportion of consumers have so far been converted, and it is too early to give a realistic average cost per consumer.

Mr. Lubbock

Will the Minister give these figures to me when they become available? Is he aware that the National Board for Prices and Incomes has estimated that it would cost£30 per domestic consumer to convert to natural gas? Does not that seem a very high figure, and will be look at it?

Mr. Mason

Yes, Sir. This figure has been bandied about and may well prove to be true, but I want the hon. Gentleman to realise that in the cost of conversion there are—apart from the conversion of appliances—surveys, administrative costs and associated distribution costs, which have to be taken into consideration.