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Domestic Electricity Charges

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cost of electricity to customers was in England in each of the last five years. [33792]

Malcolm Wicks: Estimates of average annual domestic electricity bills in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are published in Table 2.2.2 in the DTI's Quarterly Energy Prices", which can be found on the following website: prices/index.shtml.

Electricity Supplies

Mr. Meale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what contingency plans his Department has developed for providing power this winter to homes and businesses heated solely by electricity in the event of electricity shortages. [30905]

Malcolm Wicks: National Grid's Winter Outlook report shows that under normal weather conditions there are sufficient gas supplies and electricity generation to meet demand. Under much worse than normal winter weather, however, it may be necessary for
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large industrial users to restrain demand—a perfectly normal market response. Much of this demand reduction can be done through the electricity generating industry switching to coal or other fuels.—Under all credible scenarios, however, the market will be able to deliver energy supplies to domestic consumers.

Concerning contingency arrangements in the unlikely event of shortages, in the first instance, we expect a commercial response from the market to price signals indicating tightness in the supply-demand balance. National Grid's Winter Outlook report contains a detailed assessment of the extent to which this sector would be able to reduce demand for gas in this way while continuing to meet demand.

Only if the market fails to balance itself might it be necessary to take contingency measures. The Government has detailed emergency plans in place which have been developed and well rehearsed in close co-operation with industry. Our legislative powers to deal with gas emergencies date back to 1976. We are obviously updating operational response plans on a regular basis and our current plans, which have been thoroughly tested and developed in partnership with
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industry have been in place for the last three years. However, we would not expect such an eventuality to arise merely as a result of colder than average weather.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made following the National Grid winter outlook report of what reduction in electricity demand would be required over what period of days to keep electricity supplies in balance. [31727]

Malcolm Wicks: This is a matter for National Grid, as system operator.

National Grid, in its Winter Outlook Report 2005–06, published in October, considers the potential for demand-side response (sections A and C ). The Winter Outlook can be found at:

Energy Definitions

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what definition he uses of (a) fuel poverty and (b) net importation of energy. [31549]

Malcolm Wicks: Fuel poverty is defined as the need for a household to spend more than 10 per cent. of its income on all fuel use and to heat its home to an adequate standard of warmth (21C in the living room and 18C in other occupied rooms). There are some minor differences in definition used across the devolved Administrations, and these are set out in The UK Fuel Poverty Strategy of November 2001".

Net trade in energy is defined as the total quantity of fuels exported less total quantity of fuels imported. There is a net importation of energy when the total quantity imported exceeds the total quantity exported.

The units of energy used by the Department are expressed in million tonnes of oil equivalent which is a measure of the energy content of the individual fuels. The conversion allows different energy sources to be compared and combined. Quantities of imports and exports are converted from their original units of measurement to tonnes of oil equivalent using weighted gross calorific values and standard conversion factors appropriate to the individual fuel.

Energy Review

Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the terms of reference are of the recently announced Energy Review. [32940]

Malcolm Wicks: The terms of reference for the Energy Review are set out as follows:

The Government will review the UK's progress against the medium and long-term Energy White Paper goals and the options for further steps to achieve them. The aim will be to bring forward proposals on energy policy next year.

The Review will be informed by analysis and options drawn up by a Review team led by myself. This will be a team of Officials drawn from key relevant Departments and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit. In drawing up the analysis and options, I will undertake extensive public and stakeholder consultation.
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The Review will be taken forward in the context of the Government's commitment to sound public finances and will take account of all short-term, medium-term and long-term costs and liabilities both to the taxpayer and energy user. The Review team will report to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in early summer.

Copies of the terms of reference have also been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Energy Supplies (Wales)

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate his Department has made of the total cost of (a) decommissioning nuclear capabilities in Wales and (b) final disposal of their nuclear waste; and if he will make a statement. [33525]

Malcolm Wicks: The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) assumed responsibility for the decommissioning and clean up of the UK's civil nuclear legacy on 1 April 2005. The NDA has set out its plans for the decommissioning and clean up of its sites in its draft strategy. The draft strategy indicates that the most recent life cycle baseline costs (which set out the scope, schedule, and cost of work at each site over its life time) in respect of the Magnox nuclear power stations at Trawsfynydd and Wylfa is as follows:

Options for the long term management of radioactive wastes are subject to consideration and evaluation by the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) who are due to make a recommendation to Government in July 2006.

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment his Department has made of the potential for nuclear fission power stations in Wales; what estimate his Department has made of the total life cycle costs of such facilities including full decommissioning and final disposal of waste; and if he will make a statement. [33527]

Malcolm Wicks: The role of nuclear power in meeting the UK's future electricity generating needs will be examined in the recently announced Energy Review, alongside all other options to ensure the UK remains on track to meet our medium and long-term energy policy goals. Review will need to analyse the costs of all options, including new nuclear, as part of weighing up costs and benefits before a decision can be taken.

Export Support

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what export support for UK manufacturers has been introduced since 1997. [29435]

Alun Michael: UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), formerly British Trade International, is a joint DTI and FCO operation created in 1999. One of UKTI's key aims is to strengthen the provision of support to exporters, including manufacturers. UKTI provides a range of information, advice and support to potential and existing
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exporters. Support is tailored specifically to individual company needs. Full detail of the export support available to all companies, including manufacturers, can be found at


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Tradeand Industry what estimate he has made of the average beach gas availability from the UK continental shelf for winter (a) 2005–06, (b) 2006–07 and (c) 2007–08. [32364]

Malcolm Wicks: There are currently no publicly available figures estimating UKCS availability for the years 2006–07 and 2007–08. An estimate of beach gas availability for this winter (2005–06) by National Grid, the network operator, can be found at: 21405.pdf.

Uncertainties regarding facility and equipment reliability, reservoir performance and the weather make availability of beach gas estimates highly complex, and subject to variation.

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment his Department has made of the availability of gas supplies in the event of a failure of the continental gas interconnector this winter. [30534]

Malcolm Wicks: National Grid, in its Winter Outlook report 2005–06, published in October, considers various gas supply assumptions (table 3). The Winter Outlook can be found at:

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the estimated gas production from the UK's own resources is for each quarter from Q1 2006 to Q4 2008. [31496]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department does not make projections of gas production on a quarterly basis. It does publish projections of annual production from the UK continental shelf, in the form of ranges, at For 2006 to 2008 the latest projections of production available for sale (i.e. net of producers' own use) are 85–95 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2006, 80–90 bcm in 2007 and 75–85 bcm in 2008. By comparison, net production in 2004 was 94.5 bcm and is likely to be around 89 bcm in 2005.

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when his Department first provided information to (a) Ofgem and (b) the national grid about gas production problems in the North Sea to enable gas supply forecasting. [33564]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department provides information to Ofgem on unplanned, offshore and gas terminal outages that may have a significant impact on the volumes of gas produced into the National Transmission System. This information has been provided routinely since summer 2004.
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The offshore industry provides national grid with information about significant gas production problems under the terms of an agreement that came into effect in autumn 2003.

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