§ Mr. Skeet
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he proposes that the private sector should be permitted to construct works under the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Act 1975, distribute gas through their own system and market gas without reference to the Secretary of State.
§ Mr. Gray
The Oil and Gas (Enterprise) Bill now before the House would permit the private sector to market gas to all consumers whom British Gas is not under a statutory obligation to supply on request. The private supplier would require my consent before supplying350W premises taking less than 1 million therms a year. Above that rate the ability to supply would be subject only to a notification procedure. It will be for the private supplier to decide whether to distribute gas by building his own pipelines or by seeking access to British Gas pipelines—or by a combination of the two. In the former case he is free to apply for authorisation under the Pipe-lines Act 1962 or the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Act 1975, as appropriate. In the latter case he will under our proposals be able to apply to me for a direction if his negotiations with British Gas are unsuccessful.