HC Deb 04 July 2000 vol 353 cc136-7W
Mr. Rooney

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made in developing the future regulatory and consumer representation arrangements for the gas and electricity industries; and if he will make a statement. [129299]

Mrs. Liddell

The Utilities Bill currently before Parliament will result in substantial benefits to consumers. In order to provide a sound basis for the implementation of those aspects of the new legislation for which it will have responsibility, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets plans to undertake preparatory work right away. My Department also needs to undertake some preparatory work on appointments to the new Gas and Electricity Markets Authority and Gas and Electricity Consumer Council, which will be established once the Utilities Bill get Royal Assent. However, while candidates designate will be identified by the recruitment process, no appointments will be made until the Utilities Bill has received Royal Assent.

Parliamentary approval to these activities will be sought in Estimates for the OFGEM Vote (Class IX, Vote 10) and DTI Vote (Class IX, Vote 1). Pending that approval, urgent preparatory expenditure estimated at £1 million for OFGEM and £0.3 million for DTI will be met by repayable advances from the Contingencies Fund.

Mr. Stunell

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his oral answer of 15 June 2000,Official Report, column 1102, on electricity trading arrangements, if he will publish the names and qualifications of the Embedded Generation Working Group, its terms of reference and work programming; and if he will make a statement. [128848]

Mrs. Liddell

The names, positions and contact details for the joint industry-government working group on embedded generation network access are published on the DTI website at: www.dti.gov.uk/energy/egwg/ along with its terms of reference, work programming, and minutes of past plenary meetings. This group focuses on network access issues. The position of such generators in respect of the new electricity trading arrangements (NETA) is handled separately.

Within the NETA process, a number of expert groups have been established, including the Specials Expert Group, the work of which includes the position of licence exempt generators under NETA. The terms of reference of the expert groups was published in paper DISG 21/04 which is available on the Ofgem website. They are

to assist the Business Requirements and Review Team in reviewing Programme products assessing Change Requests and providing guidance and advice to the Programme. In all these instances, the basis of the activity will be to seek to ensure that the deliverables from the Programme are compliant with stakeholder requirements".

The Specials Expert Group has developed a range of proposals to assist licence exempt generators to manage their commercial position in the NETA market, and that work continues. The membership of the Group is: Tony Bramley (Tanaris Energy); Graham Meeks (ETSU); David Smol (ILEX); Louise Elder (NGC); Robert Hockland (Scottish and Southern); Peter Clubb (ALEC); Stephen Andrews (ILEX); Andrew Wood (NFPA); Afrose Miah (PowerGen); Wyn Jones (Alcan); Liz Aveyard (Corns); Bob Brown (Norweb); Andrew MacDonald (Concert Energy); Steve Garrett (Slough Heat and Power); and Maurice Smith (Campbell Carr).

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