HC Deb 11 June 1984 vol 61 cc631-2
14. Mr. Ray Powell

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the increased cost of using oil instead of coal by the Central Electricity Generating Board in the 10 weeks to 21 May.

Mr. Giles Shaw

The Central Electricity Generating Board is responsible for the operation of the integrated electricity supply system. The board is absorbing for the present the extra costs involved.

Mr. Powell

Having accepted that there is increased cost to the electricity board, the NCB and British Rail, as well as to industry in general as a result of the miners' strike, is it not time that the Government gave serious consideration to an early redundancy payment for Mr. Ian MacGregor, or to his deportation to America, so that we can save this country the millions of pounds that have been taken from the trading balance since the miners' strike started?

Mr. Shaw

I accept that the hon. Gentleman has a strong point of view on the matter. He should recognise that the CEGB has maintained an effective supply of electricity despite all the disruption.

Mr. Nellist

Is it not a fact that the CEGB has spent more than £200 million on the Amsterdam spot market to buy oil in the past 10 or 11 weeks? When making fatuous remarks about it being warmer in the summer than in the winter—it takes a Cabinet Minister to discover that—does the Minister not realise that the total requirements for power generation drop by less than a third in the summer months? Does he not realise that he is costing taxpayers and working people hundreds of millions of pounds in trying to break the NUM by buying oil abroad?

Mr. Shaw

The hon. Gentleman has his own unique way of drawing attention to some of the problems that are involved in energy supply and demand. He should be grateful that we have an electricity generating system that is capable of withstanding the worst that the hon. Gentleman can do to it.