HC Deb 09 March 1995 vol 256 cc284-5W
Sir Michael Grylls

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish further information about the licences which would be granted pursuant to the Gas Bill, once enacted.

Mr. Eggar

I am today publishing further information about proposed gas licences, in advance of the Second Reading of the Gas Bill next Monday. These outlines will give a clearer idea of the measures and safeguards that would be established for the operation of a fully competitive market in domestic gas supply.

The principal standard conditions are likely to include:

for supply licences, an obligation to supply all prospective domestic customers within their area, subject to certain technical exceptions; to publish charges; to offer a reasonable range of methods of payment to customers; to supply gas where directed to do so by the Director General of Gas Supply, to ensure the continuity of supply to customers; to make financial arrangements, such as a bond, to cover the costs which would be involved if another company had to take over supplying their customers; to offer consumers reasonable rights to terminate contracts; to provide special services for disabled customers or pensioners free of charge; to adopt suitable methods for dealing with customers who have genuine difficulty paying their bills; to advise customers on energy efficiency; to check the background of officers authorised to enter customers' premises and provide them with official identification.for transportation licences, requirements to keep separate accounts for transportation and storage business; to furnish the director with details of charges, and both the director and the Gas Consumers Council with other information; to establish standards of performance and provide compensation if they are not met; to establish a "network code" under which others may use the pipeline system; to make effective arrangements for the provision of emergency services to the public; to raise a levy, if necessary, to compensate any suppliers with disproportionate social obligations; and to obtain the director's approval before disposing of key assets.for shipper licences, obligations as regards the use of pipeline systems; to assist the transporter during an emergency; to supply the director with appropriate information.