Amendment 65

Energy Bill [HL] - Committee (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 7th September 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Lord Callanan:

Moved by Lord Callanan

65: After Clause 81, insert the following new Clause—Modifications of licences etc(1) The Secretary of State may modify—(a) a condition of a particular licence under section 6(1)(b) of the Electricity Act 1989 (transmission licences); (b) the standard conditions incorporated in licences under section 6(1)(b) of the Electricity Act 1989 by virtue of section 8A of that Act;(c) a document maintained in accordance with the conditions of licences under section 6(1)(b) of the Electricity Act 1989, or an agreement that gives effect to a document so maintained.(2) The Secretary of State may modify—(a) a condition of a particular licence under section 7 of the Gas Act 1986 (licensing of gas transporters);(b) the standard conditions incorporated in licences under section 7 of the Gas Act 1986 by virtue of section 8 of that Act;(c) a document maintained in accordance with the conditions of licences under section 7 of the Gas Act 1986, or an agreement that gives effect to a document so maintained.(3) The Secretary of State may modify—(a) a condition of a particular licence under Article 10(1)(b), (bb) or (d) of the Electricity (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 (S.I. 1992/231 (N.I. 1)) (transmission, distribution or SEM operator licences);(b) the standard conditions of licences under Article 10(1)(b), (bb) or (d) of that Order;(c) a document maintained in accordance with the conditions of licences under Article 10(1)(b), (bb) or (d) of that Order, or an agreement that gives effect to a document so maintained.(4) The Secretary of State may modify—(a) a condition of a particular licence under Article 8(1)(a) of the Gas (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (S.I. 1996/275 (N.I. 2)) (licences to convey gas);(b) the standard conditions of licences under Article 8(1)(a) of that Order;(c) a document maintained in accordance with the conditions of licences under Article 8(1)(a) of that Order, or an agreement that gives effect to a document so maintained.(5) The powers conferred by subsections (1) to (4) may be exercised only for the purpose of facilitating or supporting enforcement of, and administration in connection with, obligations under regulations within section 66 (including facilitation and support by way of allowing or requiring the provision of services).(6) Provision included in a licence, or in a document or agreement relating to licences, by virtue of any power under subsections (1) to (4) may in particular include provision of a kind that may be included in revenue support regulations.(7) If under subsection (1) or (2) the Secretary of State makes modifications of the standard conditions of a licence, the GEMA must—(a) make the same modification of those standard conditions for the purposes of their incorporation in licences of that type granted after that time, and(b) publish the modification.(8) If under subsection (3) or (4) the Secretary of State makes modifications of the standard conditions of a licence, the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation must—(a) make the same modification of those standard conditions for the purposes of their incorporation in licences of that type granted after that time, and(b) publish the modification.(9) Before making a modification under this section, the Secretary of State must consult—(a) the holder of any licence being modified, and (b) such other persons as the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to consult.(10) Subsection (9) may be satisfied by consultation before, as well as by consultation after, the passing of this Act.Member’s explanatory statementThis new clause and new clause (Section (Modifications of licences etc): supplementary) confer power to modify certain licence conditions, industry codes etc for purposes related to the enforcement of the hydrogen levy.

Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

My Lords, in moving Amendment 65 I shall speak also to Amendments 66, 147, 149 and 190 standing in my name. These amendments will allow the Secretary of State to modify the licences of certain gas and electricity market participants in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They will also allow the Secretary of State to modify documents maintained in accordance with these licences, such as industry codes, or agreements that give effect to such documents. The Secretary of State will be able to make such modifications only for the purpose of facilitating or supporting enforcement of, and administration in connection with, hydrogen levy obligations.

As I have said, decisions on the detailed design of the levy are pending. However, it is likely that persons other than the levy administrator will need to perform functions, provide services, and/or provide information and advice that support and facilitate the administration and enforcement of the levy. This power is required in order that the Secretary of State can modify relevant licences and codes to support and facilitate the administration and enforcement of the levy. In particular, it is required so that the Secretary of State may make modifications to support or facilitate persons who are parties to relevant industry codes to take on roles related to the levy’s administration and enforcement.

I can tell the Committee that there is precedent for this type of provision, with similar powers contained in the Energy Act 2013 and the recent Nuclear Energy (Financing) Act 2022. Provisions in the Energy Act 2013 were used to make licence and code modifications in relation to the contracts for difference regime. This power will help future-proof the levy, enabling the Secretary of State to implement licence or code modifications in order to accommodate any future changes to the levy design.

I can reassure your Lordships that these amendments of course include a requirement for the Secretary of State to consult the holder of any licence being modified and such other persons as the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to consult before making any modification. This will help ensure that relevant bodies are engaged in any potential modifications.

In addition, before making modifications under this power, the Secretary of State must lay a draft of the modifications before Parliament, where they will be subject to a procedure analogous to the draft negative resolution procedure used for statutory instruments. This also allows for additional scrutiny for any proposed modifications under this power. I beg to move.

Photo of Baroness Blake of Leeds Baroness Blake of Leeds Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and International Trade)

Briefly, I thank the Minister for that explanation. I am sure, looking back at comments made earlier this afternoon, that the team opposite cannot be happy with the number of government amendments that are coming through on the Bill at this stage—I hope that will be taken up on a serious note on this and other Bills that have come forward.

The only slight question I have is that we talk about consultation as though everyone understands exactly how it happens and everyone is happy with the way it is done. Is it possible to be slightly more specific about who else might be consulted apart from the owner of the licence? I would also like some reassurance around the openness and transparency of a process to make sure that all parties are aware of any changes made in the future.

Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

I am happy to reassure the noble Baroness that the relevant consultations will of course take place on any changes made.

Amendment 65 agreed.