HC Deb 08 March 1983 vol 38 cc711-2

'(1) This section applies to any purchase of electricity by an Electricity Board in accordance with arrangements made in pursuance of—

  1. (a) section 21(2) of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 (production of heat and electricity from waste, etc.), or
  2. (b) section 11(2) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (production of heat etc. by local authorities).
(2) The price at which a purchase to which this section applies is made shall be the same as it would be by virtue of section 7 above if the purchase were made in compliance with a request under section 5 above; and subsections (4) and (5) of section 7 shall apply to a purchase to which this section applies as they apply to a purchase made in compliance with such a request. (3) Section 9 above shall apply to a dispute as to—
  1. (a) the price at which a purchase to which this section applies is to be made, or
  2. (b) the reasonableness of any payment demanded by an Electricity Board in accordance with section 7(4) above as applied by this section,
as it applies to disputes within section 9(1)(a) to (e).'.—[Mr. Gray.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

3.42 pm
The Minister of State, Department of Energy (Mr. Hamish Gray)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Section 21(2) of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and section 11(2) of the Local Authorities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 require that electricity generated by local authorities must be used on the authorities' own premises or be sold to an electricity board. The board is obliged to take the electricity, but there are no provisions about the price that it must pay. We discussed the position of local authorities in Committee, as reported in c. 252 of Hansard, and I agreed that provision should be made for local authorities to benefit directly from the prices available to private generators.

Therefore, I am pleased to introduce this new clause, which proposes that an electricity board should be obliged to purchase the electricity at the price specified in a tariff fixed under clause 7(1) of the Bill. If there is no applicable tariff in force or if, owing to special circumstances, the applicable tariff is not appropriate, the price that the board is obliged to pay for the electricity must be based upon the principles set out in clause 7. Under that clause, a board may recover from the local authority its costs and expenses incurred in taking the supply. The clause also makes provision for disputes involving prices to paid to local authorities similar to that made for prices paid to private generators.

The clause extends to local authorities the framework for fair prices for electricity paid by a board. It has been welcomed by the Association of County Councils, and I commend it to the House.

Mr. John Smith (Lanarkshire, North)

I welcome the new clause, which follows a concession made by the Minister in Committee when the Opposition asked about the position of local authorities in this legislation.

It seemed to me then, as it does now, that the Government could well have inserted this provision in the Bill at the beginning had the Bill been properly thought out. However, in Committee, when the Bill was subject to searching analysis, several difficulties were revealed, and this afternoon Government amendments will be brought forward to deal with the difficulties exposed in Committee. However, at least this part of the Bill is being put right by the Government, and I should be churlish if I were to oppose it.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

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