HL Deb 15 July 2004 vol 663 cc1412-3

32 Clause 181, page 138, line 38, leave out from "must" to end of line 46 and insert—

  1. publish a draft of any scheme proposed to be established by the order;
  2. publish an assessment of the costs likely to be incurred by different persons in consequence of the order; and
  3. consult authorised suppliers and such other persons likely to be affected by the order as he considers appropriate.

( ) An assessment published under subsection (7)(b) must set out, in particular, the Secretary of State's assessment of the likely effect of the order on charges for electricity in Great Britain. ( ) Subsection (7) may be satisfied by publications and consultation taking place wholly or partly before the commencement of this section. 33 Page 139, line 30, leave out "An order under" and insert "The power to make an order containing provision authorised by
Lord Whitty

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 32 and 33 to what was Clause 181 when it left this place. The clause concerned the power to allow an adjustment to transmission charges for renewable generators in a specific area.

These government amendments are made, by and large, by simple drafting changes. They do not seek to alter the spirit of the amendments made here, except perhaps in that they remove the duty on the Secretary of State to produce an annual report covering the costs and impact of any scheme established under the clause. On that point, the cost of any scheme to consumers should not change substantially from year to year, and therefore the requirement for an annual report seems unnecessary.

It is also worth remembering that the scheme will have a duration of only five years. After that time, another order would be needed to extend it or to create another scheme for a maximum of a further five years. At that point, the costs and benefits of any extension would be published and no doubt, if necessary, debated. An annual report in relation to this power would only be an unnecessary addition to bureaucracy.

The amendments also make it clear that consultation on the use of the power may take place before this section is commenced. I do not think that there is any hostility to that. Such a provision was not in place previously, and the amendments provide for that. The other changes are simple drafting changes.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 32 and 33.—(Lord Whitty.)

Lord Jenkin of Roding

My Lords, I moved the original amendment introducing the new clause at Third Reading. I well remember that the House accepted it with a significant majority against the Government's advice. I can only say how delighted I am that the Government have now recognised that there is merit in the proposal that we put forward—particularly the proposal that there should be a draft scheme and an assessment of the likely costs and how the costs will fall on different persons.

I want to go one stage further. As I indicated in an earlier debate today, I believe that it would be helpful if in some way the costs of the whole renewable energy policy, which, as I said, is being paid for not by the Government but by consumers, could be reflected as a renewable energy surcharge on consumers' bills. They are paying for it, but the costs are not separated out. At least, under this clause, for the transmission purpose there will now be a draft of the scheme, an assessment of the costs likely to be incurred and an obligation to consult. That preserves the heart of the new clause which we inserted, and that I welcome. I am glad that it has survived what otherwise might have been the chop.

On Question, Motion agreed to.