HL Deb 04 May 1999 vol 600 cc69-70WA
Lord Newby

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will apply Section 26 of the Consumer Protection Act 1982 to the resale of electricity in order that tenants may be clear about the price their landlord is entitled to charge. [HL2071]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville

At present, the Director General of Electricity Supply fixes the maximum resale price of electricity under the Electricity Act 1989. He does so based on the single rate standard domestic tariff of the local public electricity supplier. With the opening of the electricity market to competition, the present arrangements can mean that the tenant is unable to derive any benefit from lower prices that the landlord may be able to find elsewhere. Changes made to gas legislation by the Gas Act 1995 have introduced greater flexibility, so that, rather than fixing the actual maximum resale price, the Director General of Gas Supply is enabled to set a maximum resale price with reference to the actual price paid by the landlord and also to require that resellers should furnish the purchaser, on request, with information about the price at which they bought the gas being resold. The Government have made clear their intention to legislate, when parliamentary time permits, to reform the way in which public utilities are regulated, and to be driven in doing so by a need to put consumers' interests first. They have also stated in this context that, where it is sensible to do so, they will aim to bring the regulatory regimes for gas and electricity into line.

For this reason, Her Majesty's Government have no plans to make regulations under Section 26 of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 on price indications in respect of the resale of electricity.