Photo of John Hemming

John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he has taken to increase the transparency of the gas markets that feed the UK gas market.

Photo of Malcolm Wicks

Malcolm Wicks (Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry; Croydon North, Labour)

holding answer 23 November 2006

I attach great importance to the development of a functioning internal energy market. While progress has been made in implementing the EU's 2003 liberalisation package, further steps are needed and I welcome the action the Commission is taking, both in conducting a sectoral inquiry of energy and in considering what other action may be necessary.

In the UK's response to the Commission energy Green Paper of March this year, we underlined a number of factors which we regard as key to the development of the market: ensuring sufficient information is available for all market players and consumers to benefit from fair competition; the need for regulators to have sufficient powers and independence to deliver competition, including across borders; investment in cross-border infrastructure; and effective unbundling to prevent discrimination against market entrants.

I look forward to the publication of the Commission's strategic energy review and the conclusions of the sectoral inquiry, both due to be published in January.

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