HC Deb 19 June 2002 vol 387 cc348-9W
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment her Department has made of the lessons to be learned from the Californian energy crisis. [60056]

Mr. Wilson

[holding answer 13 June 2002]: The Department has monitored the situation in California closely, and continues to do so. The underlying cause of the problems in the Californian electricity market appears to have been a shortage of generation capacity. By contrast, capacity margins in Great Britain are healthy and demand growth in GB has been much more modest than it was in California. Overall, the Department believes a similar combination of circumstances is unlikely to occur in Great Britain, although the Department is not complacent. The Department and Ofgem set up a joint Security of Supply Working Group in July 2001 which, among other matters, is monitoring capacity issues carefully.