§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment she has made of the impact on consumers of the deferral of retail electricity competition; and what compensatory action is proposed in connection with returns to regional electricity companies. 
§ Mr. Battle
[holding answer 26 January 1998]: The Director General of Electricity Supply has reported that a deferral is necessary to ensure that the systems which will allow customers to choose their own electricity suppliers are thoroughly tested and reliable. Compensatory arrangements for delays to the introduction of retail electricity competition are included in the electricity supply price controls which will run from April 1998. These are a matter for the Director General of Electricity Supply.