Gas (Supply and Demand)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:51 pm on 14th March 2006.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alan Johnson Alan Johnson Secretary of State for Trade and Industry 3:51 pm, 14th March 2006

No, I think that that was absolutely the right thing to do. As for how it has worked for our customers, both domestic and industrial, British industry, for instance, has paid something like £8 billion less for its energy since liberalisation than German industry. The record of UK companies' energy costs has been very good. We have a problem this winter—my hon. Friend refers to companies in her constituency—and I do not want to diminish in any way the effect on energy-intensive users: it has been dramatic this year, and it is something that we cannot deny.

My point about demand meeting supply is that National Grid issues a gas balancing alert when supply is not matching demand. It looks at the situation every day. Yesterday morning it decided that it should issue a gas balancing alert, because supply was not meeting demand. This morning it decided that it should not do so, because supply is meeting demand. That is the only point that I was making on behalf of National Grid. I was not trying to make some great philosophical point about the political situation with energy.