§ Mrs. Ann Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he has any statement to make about electricity price increases.
§ Mr. Varley:
The 12 area boards in England and Wales applied to the Price Commission on 19th February for basic electricity price increases for consumption starting from the first meter reading on or after 1st April. After considering the Price Commission's findings I have asked the industry to restrict the price increases to a national average increase of 28½ per cent. for domestic consumers, and 7½ per cent. for the monthly billed consumers. There will be variations from these national average figures between the area boards, which will announce full details as soon as possible. At my request the increases will be so arranged as to be proportionately less for the smaller 117W domestic consumers and more for the larger consumers. These increases are on the April fuel inclusive price, that is, after the increases to be made in April bills under fuel cost adjustment clauses, which will also continue to operate for all consumers to recover further increases in the industry's fuel costs.
When announcing on 29th July 1974 the concession on the price of off-peak electricity I made clear that it could not continue indefinitely, and a start will now be made on phasing it out. This will be done by charging in future to off-peak consumers as to other consumers the full increase in fuel costs. The effect will be that, while there will no longer be a fixed percentage relationship between off-peak and other rates, the absolute amount of the concession after the 1st April basic price increase will be maintained for consumption in the year 1975–76. The remaining concession will be withdrawn from off-peak consumers for their consumption starting from 1st April 1976, but off-peak electricity will remain a great deal cheaper than unrestricted electricity.