HL Deb 05 July 2000 vol 614 cc135-6WA
Lord Clarke of Hampstead

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made in developing the future regulatory and consumer representation arrangements for the gas and electricity industries. [HL3181]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville)

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. The Department of Trade and Industry 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 gets Royal Assent. However, whilst 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.

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