HC Deb 05 July 1971 vol 820 cc916-7
33. Mr. David Stoddart

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will seek powers to compensate the Central Electricity Generating Board for the additional cost of out-of-merit running of generating plant due to the late commissioning and below capacity running of 500 megawatt turbo-alternators due to manufacturing and installation faults.

Mr. Ridley

No, Sir. Consequential costs arising from the non-availability of plant are the responsibility of the C.E.G.B.

Mr. Stoddart

That answer was not unexpected, but is the hon. Gentleman aware that the C.E.G.B. has lost tens of millions of £s as a result of slow commissioning of this plant and that many of the 500 megawatt sets are still not running at full capacity? Is this not the opportunity for the Government to do something about cutting a very significant price at a stroke?

Mr. Ridley

If the C.E.G.B. has such difficulties, it is up to the Board to avoid them in the future. It would be wrong to expect others to subsidise the C.E.G.B. for purposes which are within its control.

Mr. Palmer

Are there not penalty clauses in all these contracts? Could the hon. Gentleman explain why the C.E.G.B. seems almost reluctant to invoke penalty clauses against manufacturers?

Mr. Ridley

The C.E.G.B. behaves completely commercially and properly in this matter. I know of many occasions upon which it has invoked penalty clauses.