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Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, I am disappointed by the Minister's response to Amendment No. 74. I hear what he has had to say with regard to competition and flexibility. However, there is a need to consider the viability of the independent public gas transporters. In order to be in business, they have to invest for a long period. Clause 77 as it stands gives an enormously wide discretion to the authority which they feel is unreasonable.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I realise that I failed to reply to an important point made by the noble Baroness in introducing Amendment No. 74. I apologise for that. She said that the phrase,

is too broad. That is for a very good reason. We expect the companies to protect their investments, but we

5 Jul 2000 : Column 1564

expect them to protect their investments by using contracts. In our view, the authority should become involved only when there are disputes.

I failed to reply to another point raised by the noble Baroness, for which again I apologise. She said that the Bill is retrospective because the pipes are already in the ground. Clause 77 deals with pipes already in the ground. The discretion which the noble Baroness criticised includes the ability of the authority to allow transporters to place conditions on consent which protect their investment if it thinks that it is in the interests of consumers. I think that we have thought this out properly. We have thought about the short-term position, where people have investments and where the threat is that new people can come in, and we have thought about the long-term interests of consumers and the industry.

Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, I hear what the Minister has had to say. We have had a good deal of consultation with the industry on this point. The industry does not feel that what the Minister has said thus far has given it enough assurance. On that basis, when we reach Amendment No. 74, I should like to test the opinion of the House. I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 69.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 70 to 73 not moved.]

Clause 77 [Restriction on use of certain pipe-lines for providing a supply of gas]:

Baroness Buscombe moved Amendment No. 74:

    Page 79, line 3, at end insert ("having regard to any guidelines drawn up by the Authority from time to time in consultation with gas transporters and to the provisions of section 7(8)(b)").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I beg to move.

7.52 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 74) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 36; Not-Contents, 102.

Division No. 4


Attlee, E.
Blatch, B.
Bridgeman, V.
Burnham, L. [Teller]
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Craigavon, V.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Fookes, B.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Hanham, B.
Haslam, L.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Home, E.
Hooper, B.
Kimball, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lucas, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Marlesford, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montrose, D.
Northbrook, L.
Norton of Louth, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Seccombe, B.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Waddington, L.
Young, B.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Barker, B.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
Dahrendorf, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Ezra, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grenfell, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Islwyn, L.
Judd, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Molloy, L.
Nicol, B.
Parekh, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Renwick of Clifton, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shepherd, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tordoff, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

5 Jul 2000 : Column 1565

8.3 p.m.

Clause 78 [Construction of pipe-lines by gas transporters]:

[Amendment No. 75 not moved.]

Clause 79 [Duty to facilitate competition]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 76:

    Page 80, line 16, leave out subsection (5).

On Question, amendment agreed to.

5 Jul 2000 : Column 1566

Clause 84 [The gas code]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendments Nos. 77 and 78:

    Page 86, line 13, leave out from ("installed") to end of line 15 and insert ("by an authorised supplier on any premises shall not be used to recover any sum other than a sum owing to an authorised supplier in respect of the supply of gas to those premises or the provision of the meter."").

    Page 86, line 28, at end insert--

("(4) In paragraph 23(2), for paragraph (c) there is substituted--
"(c) exercising a power conferred by paragraph 3(5) or 7(3)(a) (and testing gas fittings, and making any adjustments required for their safe operation, after the exercise of the power)."").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 88 [Altering activities requiring gas licence]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 79:

    Page 94, line 17, at end insert (; and

( ) any advice given by the Health and Safety Commission under section 4A (advice about health and safety in relation to gas)").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 93 [Information with respect to levels of performance]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 80:

    Page 100, line 6, leave out subsection (6) and insert--

("(6) Subsection (3) shall cease to have effect.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 95 [Financial penalties]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 81:

    Page 102, line 3, at end insert--

("(6A) No penalty imposed by the Authority under this section may exceed 10 per cent. of the turnover of the licence holder (determined in accordance with provisions specified in an order made by the Secretary of State).
(6B) An Order under subsection (6A) shall not be made unless a draft of the instrument containing it has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Borrie, I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 98 [Help for disadvantaged groups of gas customers]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendments Nos. 82 to 87:

    Page 108, line 5, leave out ("persons who supply gas") and insert ("authorised suppliers").

    Page 108, line 11, leave out from ("by") to ("provision") in line 15 and insert ("authorised shippers or authorised transporters (as well as by suppliers); and

(b) in relation to charges payable to suppliers,").

    Page 108, line 27, leave out ("persons who supply or transport gas") and insert ("authorised suppliers, authorised shippers or authorised transporters").

    Page 109, line 12, leave out ("persons who supply or transport gas") and insert ("authorised suppliers, authorised shippers or authorised transporters").

5 Jul 2000 : Column 1567

    Page 109, line 21, leave out ("persons who supply or transport gas") and insert ("authorised suppliers, authorised shippers or authorised transporters").

    Page 109, line 26, at end insert--

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