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Orders of the Day — Electricity Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:12 pm on 13th December 1988.

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Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 9:12 pm, 13th December 1988

That may have had something to do with the cost of base fuels to the electricity supply industry, but I shall consider that question later in my speech.

I was referring to the position of the Secretary of State as regards the price of electricity and suggesting that it would rise under private ownership. This will happen mainly as a result of the Government's obsession with nuclear power—an obsession which, to be fair, was not entertained by the current Conservative Government alone, but an obsession that has failed the nation in its promise of fuel so cheap that it would eventually not be worth printing electricity bills requesting payment for it.

The reality of that obsession has been the failure to meet construction targets on costs, times and production levels. At their peak, Magnox stations have only ever produced 3·8 GW, compared with an expectation of 5 GW. The AGRs, which by 1975 were planned to provide some 8 GW, have a current output capacity of 2·7 GW. After many years we have learnt the truth about the economic cost of Britain's nuclear power programme.