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Orders of the Day — Electricity Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:28 pm on 13th December 1988.

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Photo of Malcolm Rifkind Malcolm Rifkind Secretary of State for Scottish Office 4:28 pm, 13th December 1988

I shall certainly consider that constructive request, but the hon. Gentleman must appreciate that, as his question is hypothetical, so my answer will be based on an improbable hypothesis.

The role of the regulator is specified in a number of detailed ways in the Bill. I wish to comment particularly on the non-fossil fuel obligation and the attendant levy which is dealt with in the Bill.

Liability for a non-fossil fuel obligation applies in principle throughout the United Kingdom but there is no need in the foreseeable future for an order applying it to Scotland because of the high level of nuclear capacity in Scotland, which will be substantially enhanced when Torness becomes available.

Clearly, there will be no need in the foreseeable future for any additional provision for non-fossil fuel. That also applies to the levy, which is a consequence of the non-fossil fuel obligation. Any exports that the Scottish industry may make to the distribution companies in England—this also applies to exports from elsewhere in the United Kingdom or from France—would be subject to that requirement in order to ensure a proper competitive relationship between those supplying the electricity industry.