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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: If I may respond to the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, I never used the word "deleterious". I said that nothing in Amendment No. 192 adds to the practical measures that we have in hand. I see no point or advantage in adding a declaration when the practical measures of policy contained on the face of the Bill, in regulation, in licences, are already in hand. As to--

Lord Beaumont of Whitley: I absolutely accept that. It may be that the word "deleterious" is the wrong word to use. It was the word which leapt to my mind at the time. I was referring to the Government's opposition to Amendment No. 193, which we are discussing at the same time.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The argument is that net metering may be appropriate in some circumstances. However, where a genuine difference exists in the value of input and output, the singling out of net metering for praise on the face of the Bill would have the effect of imposing cross-subsidies, which do not seem to us to be justified.

Lord Ezra: I thank those who have participated in this interchange. I also thank the Minister for his response, and particularly for his reaffirmation of the Government's support of the major changes that are now taking place in electricity generation away from large, centralised stations to embedded localised generation.

However, I am sorry that the Government are not prepared to include in the Bill the proposed declaration. In my view, it would act as a coping stone for the various practical measures which the Minister has indicated are being taken. It could regularly be referred to as symbolising and indicating, in a few words, the Government's intention; the detail could then be found elsewhere. I should like to reconsider this issue to see whether the concept can be introduced elsewhere, which the Government may be prepared to accept at a later stage.

I also regret the fact that net metering cannot be introduced. The amendment does not suggest that it should be imposed, but that it should be taken into account. The concept of net metering is a relatively new one. It is not yet practised in this country, but it is widely practised in other countries and has facilitated--the word that we use--these new developments, particularly at the very small end. Unless something like this is introduced, a lot of

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technological development that is taking place here and elsewhere could be frustrated so far as this country is concerned. That is also a matter which I should like to reconsider. In the mean time, however, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 193 not moved.]

Clause 49 agreed to.

Clause 50 agreed to.

Schedule 4 [Schedule to be substituted for Schedule 6 to the 1989 Act]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 194:

    Page 116, line 32, at end insert--

("Deemed contracts in certain cases
2A.--(1) Where an electricity supplier supplies electricity to any premises otherwise than in pursuance of a contract, the supplier shall be deemed to have contracted with the occupier (or the owner if the premises are unoccupied) for the supply of electricity as from the time ("the relevant time") when he began so to supply electricity.
(2) Where--
(a) the owner or occupier of any premises takes a supply of electricity which has been conveyed to those premises by an electricity distributor;
(b) that supply is not made by an authorised supplier; and
(c) a supply of electricity so conveyed has been previously made by an electricity supplier,
the owner or occupier shall be deemed to have contracted with the appropriate supplier for the supply of electricity as from the time ("the relevant time") when he began to take such a supply.
(3) Nothing in sub-paragraph (2) shall be taken to afford a defence in any criminal proceedings.
(4) The Authority shall publish a document containing provision for determining the "appropriate supplier" for the purposes of sub-paragraph (2).
(5) The Authority may revise the current document published under sub-paragraph (4); and where it does so it shall publish the revised document.
(6) The express terms and conditions of a contract which, by virtue of sub-paragraph (1) or (2), is deemed to have been made shall be provided for by a scheme made under this paragraph.
(7) Each electricity supplier shall make (and may from time to time revise), a scheme for determining the terms and conditions which are to be incorporated in the contracts which, by virtue of sub-paragraph (1) or (2), are to be deemed to have been made.
(8) The terms and conditions so determined may include terms and conditions for enabling the electricity supplier to determine, in any case where the meter is not read immediately before the relevant time, the quantity of electricity which is to be treated as supplied by the supplier to the premises, or taken by the owner or occupier of the premises, during the period beginning with the relevant time and ending with--
(a) the time when the meter is first read after the relevant time; or
(b) the time when the supplier ceases to supply electricity to the premises, or the owner or occupier ceases to take a supply of electricity,
whichever is the earlier.
(9) A scheme under this paragraph may (subject to section 7B) make different provision for different cases or classes of cases, or for different areas, determined by, or in accordance with, the provisions of the scheme.

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(10) As soon as practicable after an electricity supplier makes a scheme under this paragraph, or a revision of such a scheme, he shall--
(a) publish, in such manner as he considers appropriate for bringing it to the attention of persons likely to be affected by it, a notice stating the effect of the scheme or revision;
(b) send a copy of the scheme or revision to the Authority and to the Council; and
(c) if so requested by any other person, send such a copy to that person without charge to him.
Supplies of electricity illegally taken

2B.--(1) Where any person takes a supply of electricity which is in the course of being conveyed by an electricity distributor, the distributor shall be entitled to recover from that person the value of the electricity so taken.
(2) Where--
(a) any person at premises at which a connection has been restored in contravention of paragraph 3(1) takes a supply of electricity which has been conveyed to those premises by an electricity distributor; and
(b) the supply is taken otherwise than in pursuance of a contract made with an authorised supplier, or of a contract deemed to have been made with an electricity supplier by virtue of paragraph 2A above or paragraph 4S (former tariff customers) of Schedule 7,
the distributor shall be entitled to recover from that person the value of the electricity so taken.
(3) Each electricity distributor shall make, and from time to time revise, a scheme providing for the manner in which, and the persons by whom, the quantity of electricity taken in such circumstances as are mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) or (2) is to be determined for the purposes of that sub-paragraph.
(4) Sub-paragraphs (9) and (10) of paragraph 2A shall apply in relation to a scheme under this paragraph as they apply in relation to a scheme under that paragraph.
(5) In this paragraph "value", in relation to any electricity taken in such circumstances as are mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) or (2), means the amount which, if the electricity had been taken in such circumstances as are mentioned in sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph 2A, could reasonably be expected to have been payable in respect of the electricity under a contract deemed to have been made by virtue of that sub-paragraph.").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, I speak also to Amendments Nos. 201, 292, 299, 300, 303, 304, 312, 337, 338, 344, 346 and 347. This group includes Amendments Nos. 195 to 197, for which I imagine that the Opposition would prefer to put their case before I knock it down.

The government amendments deal with provisions for deemed contracts and the determination of disputes. The provisions for deemed contracts are included in Amendments Nos. 194, 299, 337 and 338, which introduce provisions into the Electricity Act for deemed contracts such as already exist in the Gas Act. They provide that where a supply is made to premises without an agreed contact being in place between a customer and a supplier, a contract shall be deemed to be in place with the appropriate supplier. An example of a case in which this is necessary is when someone moves into premises without previously having made a contract with a supplier. In addition, they provide a right to a distributor to recover the value of electricity illegally taken from a distribution system through the civil process of debt recovery. This reminds me of the bedsit days of my youth!

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In addition, the Gas Act is amended to align it with the Electricity Act, in that the provisions which restrict deemed contracts to categories of customer whose demand is below a specified threshold are being repealed, making them applicable to all categories of customer.

Amendments Nos. 201, 292 and 300 relate to disputes determination. These amendments update the existing provisions of the Electricity Act, so that disputes determination by the authority applies to the statutory obligations on distributors to provide a connection. At present, it applies to statutory obligations to supply by a public electricity supplier, which are being repealed. In addition, they amend the Gas Act to align with the electricity provisions so that disputes determination applies to all customers not just domestic customers.

The consequential Amendments Nos. 303, 304, 312, 344 and 347 make some small, technical changes to the Bill, resulting from the abolition in the Electricity Act of the concept of "public electricity suppliers" and the separate definition of supplier and distributor. I beg to move.

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