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Lord Jenkin of Roding: My Lords, I am extremely grateful to those noble Lords who expressed their support for this amendment. Perhaps I may point out to the Minister that I did not argue that it is only the regulator--I believe I remember his words correctly--who should have regard to security and diversity. Of course that is not so: it is all those who are concerned with the future of energy supplies in this country who should have that responsibility. In a Bill that sets up a new regulator of our two major energy industries--namely, electricity and gas--all we are asking is that that body should also have this obligation placed upon it as one of the matters to which it must have regard and that that should be written into the legislation.

The Minister concluded by saying that we should not have unnecessary legislation. I was a member of the special Select Committee on renewable development chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Tombs, which sat about four years ago. I have the clearest recollection of the time when we were looking at complaints about the Energy Saving Trust. The trust was supposed to be financed by a very modest levy on the gas and electricity industries, which would provide the necessary resources to enable it to help people with insulation and other energy-saving measures. The electricity regulator complied with that obligation and that industry was allowed to make a contribution. However, the gas regulator said very firmly that there was nothing in her terms of reference or in her legislation that obliged her to make such a contribution to the trust. She was extremely robust about it--indeed, she is a very robust lady--and said that she was not going to do so. Therefore, the gas industry never made its contribution. Why? It was simply because that obligation was not in the legislation.

11 Jul 2000 : Column 144

We believe that GEMA should have regard to diversity and a long-term energy supply and that that obligation should be placed on the face of the Bill. It should not be able to say what its predecessor, Clare Spottiswoode said; namely, that because it was not in the legislation she was not going to do it. I believe this to be a sufficiently important matter to test the opinion of the House.

3.45 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 2) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 136; Not-Contents, 133.

Division No. 1


Aberdare, L.
Addington, L.
Alderdice, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Biffen, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Boardman, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller]
Buscombe, B.
Butterworth, L.
Byford, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chadlington, L.
Chalfont, L.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Coe, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Craig of Radley, L.
Dacre of Glanton, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Ezra, L.
Ferrers, E.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geddes, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goschen, V.
Gray of Contin, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Haslam, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Higgins, L.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Jellicoe, E.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Liverpool, E.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Oxfuird, V.
Palmer, L.
Peel, E.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Saatchi, L.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taverne, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vinson, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warnock, B.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Weatherill, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Wilson of Tillyorn, L.
Young, B.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Ewing of Kirkford, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grabiner, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greengross, B.
Grenfell, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Healey, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
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.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Laird, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Lovell-Davis, L.
McCarthy, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Nicol, B.
Parekh, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Paul, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Slim, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stallard, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

11 Jul 2000 : Column 146

3.55 p.m.

Clause 13 [Objectives and duties under 1989 Act]:

Lord Jenkin of Roding moved Amendment No. 3:

    Page 10, line 37, at end insert ("and

(c) to secure a diverse and viable long-term energy supply;").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 41 [Transfer of electricity licences]:

Baroness Buscombe moved Amendment No. 4:

    Page 42, line 4, leave out ("two months") and insert ("28 days").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, Clause 41 inserts a new Section 7A into the Electricity Act 1989 which sets out the arrangements for the transfer of electricity licences granted under that Act. Subsection (9) of new Section 7A requires the authority to publish a notice setting out the reasons for its consenting to a transfer and allowing not less than two months for representations or objections to be made.

Generally in that Act the standard notice period is 28 days and a minimum period of two months may impose an unnecessary delay where the transfer is by mutual consent and no objections are likely to arise. This amendment would reduce the minimum period from two months to 28 days but--this is important--would leave the authority the discretion to prescribe a longer period on a case-by-case basis where it considered it necessary. I beg to move.

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