HC Deb 22 March 1999 vol 328 c120W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what preparations are being made by the Energy Regulator in respect of his responsibilities under the Competition Act 1998; what increase in staff is required; and what action is being taken to co-ordinate policy with the Director General of Fair Trading. [77688]

Mr. Battle

The Office of Gas Supply (Ofgas) and Office of Electricity Regulation (OFFER) are members of the Concurrency Working Party (CWP), chaired by the Office of Fair Trading. The CWP is working to ensure that a consistent approach is being taken by all regulators on areas of training, internal procedures for the investigation of cases, IT requirements and guidance for industry. At present it is unclear if further staff will be required in Ofgas and OFFER to undertake work resulting from the prohibitions in the Competition Act coming into force in March 2000.

Naturally, the Director General of Electricity and Gas Supply is aware of the need to ensure that the appropriate level of trained staff is in place to deal with these new responsibilities. A guideline, "Concurrent Application to Regulated Industries", which deals with how regulators work with the Director General of Fair Trading (DGFT) and with each other, has been produced by the CWP and issued by the DGFT. In February, the DTI issued a consultation document "Concurrency: consultation on the possible need and scope for regulations".