§ Mr. McGrady
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will bring forward legislation on the cost of borrowing in the Northern Ireland energy market; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Pearson
A working group of economists drawn from the Department of Finance and Personnel, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation (the Authority) has been examining a legislative low cost borrowing mechanism and other options for the refinancing of energy assets and contracts, with a view to energy cost reductions for the consumer. It is expected to report shortly.
The findings of the working group and the outcomes of the consultation papers "Competition and Customer Empowerment" published by the Regulator on 4 March 2003 and "Towards a New Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland" published by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment on 17 April 2003 will shape future arrangements in this area.