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11 Nov 2008 : Column 1131Wcontinued
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will review the Government decision in respect of funding for the WISE project at the UK Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Trade, Investment and Consumer Affairs to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Davies) on 22 April 2008, Official Report, column 1976W.
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will publish an updated regulatory impact assessment for the Climate Change Bill. 
Joan Ruddock: An updated impact assessment for the Climate Change Bill will be published following Royal Assent, and will reflect the final content of the Bill.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he expects the first householders to receive assistance from the Community Energy Saving Programme; what estimate he has made of his Departments expenditure on the programme in financial year 2008-09; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock [holding answer 10 November 2008]: As the primary legislation for the Community Energy Savings Programme is still under consideration in the House it would be inappropriate to comment about possible commencement dates at this stage.
The actual cost of the energy efficiency measures householders will receive will be borne by the electricity generators and suppliers, which we estimate will be around £350 million over the period of the programme.
The departmental expenditure on this programme is in the form of staff costs, to cover both the setting up and management of the programme.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on what dates his Department has informed the House of the creation of contingent liabilities relating to his Department or its non-departmental public bodies. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Secretary of State has not informed the House of any such liabilities since 3 October. As part of the separation of DECC from BERR and DEFRA, the Department will be considering what contingent liabilities may exist, and will reflect these in the resource accounts where appropriate.
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the annual staffing cost of his Department. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien:
The annual staffing cost will be agreed once negotiations on the machinery of government changes with BERR, DEFRA and HMT are complete. The new Department (DECC) will consist of posts taken from the existing Departments for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and from
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (DEFRA). The detail is still being worked on, but the Department of Energy and Climate Change will comprise roughly 900 posts, approximately 500 from BERR and 400 from Defra.
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which organisations employ the members of staff working in his Department who are seconded from outside the Civil Service; and how many employees are seconded from each. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 20 October 2008]: The Department for Energy and Climate Change was created on 3 October 2008 and as yet information on final staff numbers are not available and have not been agreed. This information can be released when formalised.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the average cost of generating 2 MW of power by (a) nuclear generation, (b) coal-fired generation, (c) gas-fired generation and (d) wind generation. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The generation cost of different technologies are measured in terms of levelised costs and are presented on a £ per megawatt hour basis. The Government have carried out analysis on generation costs in some detail in recent years to inform policy decisions. These estimates have been published as part of the Energy Review (2006) and Nuclear White paper (2008). Latest updates to those estimates suggest the following costs associated with generating 1 MWh of electricity, assuming a €35/tCO2 price for carbon:
It should be noted that the estimates of levelised costs for different types of electricity generation are highly sensitive to the assumptions used for capital costs, fuel and EU ETS allowance prices, operating costs, load factor, and other drivers. The numbers quoted in the table represent levelised costs estimated as part of the Energy White Paper exercise, updated for fossil fuel prices used in the Government's analysis underpinning the Renewable Energy Strategy. In reality, there are large uncertainties and ranges around these figures.
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he plans to publish the next Energy Markets Outlook. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: I hope to publish the next Energy Markets Outlook before the end of this year.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the number of (a) electricity and (b) gas customers who temporarily disconnected themselves from their supply to credit prepayment meters which had been installed because of arrears in the latest period for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 3 November 2008]: The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) monitors, and publishes information about, gas and electricity disconnections and the incidence of debt among customers. However, it is not possible for Ofgem or the Department to provide data about, or estimates of, self-disconnection by prepayment meter customers or self-restrictions on use of gas and electricity by credit customers. By its nature, this behaviour is very difficult to measure.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what evidence his Department has received on the economic case for the roll-out of smart meters to domestic properties; and on what basis the Government have made the assessment that the case is questionable. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: BERR held a consultation on energy billing and metering in August 2007:
Among other things, this sought views on the Government's expectation that smart meters would be provided to all business and domestic customers over the next decade. Around 100 responses were received from a wide variety of stakeholders. The responses can be viewed at:
BERR also commissioned an independent appraisal of the costs and benefits of smart meter options which is available at:
In April 2008 the Government published its response to the consultation:
together with a consultation impact assessment on roll-out of smart meters to all domestic consumers:
The latter, in the case of central estimates, did not indicate a positive case for roll-out. However, there was considerable uncertainty about the costs and benefits, so the Government response invited views on the impact assessment and set out a programme of work leading to a decision point later in 2008. Throughout this period, BERR officials worked closely with stakeholders to develop the overall evidence base and commissioned two independent consultancy studies to review some of the numbers and assumptions in the April 2008 impact assessment.
Although the detail of the impact assessment has not yet been finalised, work in progress suggests that, under central scenarios, there is now a positive, high level case for a domestic roll-out of smart meters. The Government
therefore announced on 28 October 2008, Official Report , House of Lords, column 1515, their plans to roll out smart meters to all domestic customers ,. The final impact assessment will be published soon.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 731-4W on energy: metering, if he will publish the economic impact assessment to which reference is made. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 3 November 2008]: The economic impact assessment referred to was published in April 2008 and is available at
Since the answer referred to in the question, the Government have announced their plans to roll out smart meters to all domestic customers28 October 2008, Official Report, House of Lords, column 1515.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent meetings Ministers and officials from his Department have had with the Government of the Czech Republic to discuss the energy and climate change priorities of the Czech presidency of the European Union. 
Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to regulate the price cost ratios operated by fuel and energy suppliers. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Where possible, effective competition rather than price regulation is the preferred way to ensure a fair deal for consumers.
The preliminary findings of Ofgems recent investigation into the gas and electricity supply markets concluded that these markets are competitive, although it did identify some groups of consumers that are not receiving the full benefits of competition. Ofgem is currently consulting on actions needed to ensure that all UK consumers benefit fully from competitive energy markets.
The Office of Fair Trading monitors fuel markets and its previous investigations into the supply of petrol and diesel have concluded that these markets are competitive. Indeed, current competition among supermarkets has contributed to a fall in the average price of unleaded by more than 8p/l in just two weeks. Where the OFT has identified issues that could restrict competition, such as in the market for bulk domestic liquefied petroleum gas, it has sought to remove them.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much has been spent to raise awareness of fuel poverty in (a) Lancashire and (b) the UK in each of the last three years. 
Joan Ruddock [holding answer 10 September 2008]: Owing to the diverse and multifaceted approach taken in raising awareness of fuel poverty, it is not possible to provide accurate figures of the type requested.
While we do not have figures which reflect the total spend on raising fuel poverty awareness, since 2000, the Government have spent £20 billion on fuel poverty benefits and programmes. Action to raise awareness of fuel poverty has been carried out by a range of Government Departments, co-ordinated by DECC and its predecessor Departments through a variety of media. This includes the cross-government Keep Warm Keep Well campaign providing vulnerable people with information on the health benefits of keeping warm in winter.
Alongside the work of these Departments, awareness of fuel poverty is raised through delivery agencies and local partnerships working alongside Eaga plc. (who manage the Warm Front Scheme), local authorities, energy suppliers and National Energy Action, the fuel poverty charity and its subsidiary company Warm Zones Ltd.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much Eaga made from charging installers of energy saving equipment which was purchased using Warm Front vouchers in each of the last five years. 
Joan Ruddock: The £300 rebate scheme began in 2006. Eaga plc met the costs relating to the development and introduction of this initiative. For each voucher redeemed, the Department agreed that Eaga would receive a £42.55 administration fee. This fee is paid for by each installer registered on the scheme and contributes to ongoing administration, IT and management costs. The following table illustrates the number of vouchers redeemed, by the scheme year and the totalled administration fees recovered, since this time.
|Scheme year||Redeemed vouchers||Recovered admin fee (£)|
It is important to note that, once a contractor is registered on the £300 scheme, they benefit from a Government backed administrative process guaranteeing promotion of their services. This improves their respectability, reduces advertising costs and guarantees work they would not necessarily have otherwise received.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether Eaga is permitted to sell Carbon Emissions Reduction Target credits to energy companies in cases where those credits arise from Warm Front grant-aided energy saving installations. 
Joan Ruddock: Yes, Eaga is permitted to sell carbon credits derived from measures undertaken through the Warm Front scheme. Funding generated through this process supplements the Warm Front budget.
Mr. Plaskitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the average cost was of work carried out by Warm Front contractors for households who secured a Warm Front grant in the latest year for which figures are available. 
Joan Ruddock: Between 1 April 2007 and 30 March 2008 the Warm Front scheme assisted 268,900 households. The average grant spend over this period was £1,301.60.
Mr. Plaskitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change by what criteria his Department decides which companies and suppliers can contract with Warm Front. 
Joan Ruddock: Eaga, the Warm Front scheme manager, is obliged, under the contract held with DECC, to comply with EU procurement regulations for all contracted works. The regulations mandate that offers to tender are placed in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).
Installers interested in working on the Warm Front scheme must enter a competitive tender process. Fundamental to the process are an interrogation of installer policy, financial standing, compliance with instructions and professional qualification. Policies interrogated include:
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