Electricity Supply (Sharing)

Oral Answers to Questions — Energy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th July 1991.

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Photo of Mr Hugh Dykes Mr Hugh Dykes , Harrow East 12:00 am, 15th July 1991

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the operation of the EC Energy Council's development of electricity supply sharing arrangements.

Photo of David Heathcoat-Amory David Heathcoat-Amory , Wells

I understand that the European Commission expects to bring forward proposals for opening up electricity markets in Europe very soon. I welcome that development and look forward to such discussions with other EC countries in the Energy Council.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dykes Mr Hugh Dykes , Harrow East

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Will he confirm that Her Majesty's Government will press that campaign and policy vigorously, bearing in mind that there are rumours of tardiness by other member states as well as some of the officials in the Commission dealing with that policy? Notwithstanding that the single market has not yet begun—[Interruption.]—if I had a hat I could take it off to hear my hon. Friend's answer—does my hon. Friend agree that a single market for electricity supply is vital so that we can sell some of our electricity to the continent?

Photo of David Heathcoat-Amory David Heathcoat-Amory , Wells

I agree, but there is resistance in some other member states to the proposals for a freer market in electricity. Their state monopolies are, inevitably, somewhat resistant to competition, but we strongly believe that a true internal market requires a freer market in electricity. We have introduced proposals to that end.

Photo of Mr Dick Douglas Mr Dick Douglas , Dunfermline West

Will the Minister exercise some care in examining the internal market within Britain? Would he care to comment on the progress that has been made on the interconnector between Scotland and England? That would facilitate the use of Scottish energy generated from coal and other means in England.

Photo of David Heathcoat-Amory David Heathcoat-Amory , Wells

I cannot comment on specific proposals, because my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State may be required to authorise such developments in due course. It is a sign of the developing market in electricity in the United Kingdom that trade from one part of the United Kingdom to another is an increasing possibility.