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Energy Supply

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will place in the Library a copy of (a) the agenda and (b) the minutes of the meeting he held with the main energy supply companies on 17 November 2008. [242486]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement of 18 November 2008, Official Report, columns 14-15WS in which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State reported to the House on the outcome of the 17 November meeting.

Energy: Billing

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department has taken to ensure that prepayment customers pay no more for their energy bills than those who are billed quarterly. [253975]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 3 February 2009]: Ofgem, the independent regulator, has investigated the charges for different payment methods made by supply companies as part of their recent probe into retail gas and electricity markets. It is now consulting publicly on remedies to prevent energy supply companies from charging unjustified premia for payment methods such as pre-payment meters. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for DECC has; already told the House that should a satisfactory and timely resolution of this issue not be reached by Ofgem and the companies, he will not hesitate to legislate.

Energy: Housing

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the effects of power line communications in the home, as used by smart meters, on shortwave radio users. [254604]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Department has not carried out such an assessment.

As with all electrical and electronic products sold in the United Kingdom, Power Line Communications equipment is required to meet the relevant regulations before it can be placed on the market. In particular, it must comply with the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2006 (the EMC Regulations). The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform is responsible for the EMC Regulations. Enforcement powers are delegated to local Trading Standards offices and to Ofcom where there is a radio spectrum protection or management issue.

The Government announced in October last year our intention to mandate the installation of smart meters in all households, with an indicative timetable of the end of 2020 for completion of the roll-out. Detailed work will be required on a range of issues, including communications technologies, in preparation for roll-out.

Energy: Meters

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he plans to announce the public consultation on the roll-out of smart meters. [255842]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 10 February 2009]: The Government announced on 28 October last year that we will mandate the provision of smart meters to all households. We are currently considering a range of policy issues which need to be developed further in
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preparation for the roll out of smart meters. We will make further announcements on these issues and the next steps towards roll out when we are able to do so.

Energy: Prices

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will make arrangements for steel manufacturers to have access to energy supplies at sub-market prices. [253485]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has no plans to make arrangements for steel manufacturers to have access to energy supplies at sub-market prices.

The UK has an energy market, regulated by Ofgem, who aim to ensure consumers benefit from energy prices set in a competitive market.

Environmental Transformation Fund

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much from the Environmental Transformation Fund has (a) been allocated and (b) disbursed since its inception; what criteria will be used to determine the disbursal of funds unallocated to date; when those funds will be allocated; whether such funds will be disbursed as grants; and through which bilateral and multilateral organisations such funding will be disbursed. [256671]

Mr. Thomas: I have been asked to reply.

The UK (DFID and DECC) has allocated the full £800 million Environmental Transformation Fund to the World Bank administered Climate Investment Funds.

The first instalment of funds (£100 million) will be disbursed to the Climate Investment Funds once the trust fund arrangement with the World Bank has been approved and signed by the UK (DFID and DECC).

The World Bank Climate Investment Funds secretariat will draw down on the £100 million (and further disbursements from the £800 million) in accordance with a pre-agreed encashment schedule.

The UK expects that up to 10 per cent. of the £800 million contribution to the fund will be disbursed as grants.

The funds will be managed by the World Bank with individual programmes implemented through any one of the multilateral development banks. We expect UN agencies to participate as delivery agents in country.

Fuel Poverty: Expenditure

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what proportion of the fund established to assist fuel poor individuals has been spent to date. [244696]

Joan Ruddock [holding answer 18 December 2009]: The £1 billion Home Energy Saving Programme announced by the Prime Minister on 11 September 2008 included new obligations on energy suppliers and electricity generators to improve household energy efficiency (estimated to be worth around £910 million) and £90 million
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of additional Government funding (£74 million for the warm front scheme and £16 million for cold weather payments).

From 1 October 2008 to 25 January 2009 the warm front scheme spent approximately £43 million (86 per cent.) of the extra £50 million provided for 2008-09. An estimated 5.8 million cold weather payments have been made this winter, totalling more than £145 million.

Government will shortly be consulting on the detailed provisions of the new energy efficiency obligations on the energy suppliers and electricity generators.

Natural Gas: Asia

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking with his EU counterparts to develop the southern corridor for gas supplies from Central Asia. [255195]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The EU has identified diversification of the sources of EU energy supply as a top priority. In this context, it identified the ‘Southern Corridor’ as a project of European interest in 2007, and appointed a European Co-ordinator. This commitment was underlined in the Commission's Second Strategic Energy Review of November 2008, which recognised the corridor as a priority project and proposed specific actions to aid its progress. At the Extraordinary Energy Council on 12 January 2009 member states again confirmed that diversification of routes and sources of supply must be a major criterion for selecting projects for European support. Additionally the Southern Corridor is a priority for the Czech presidency who will hold a high-level meeting on the subject in May.

The UK fully supports the development of a southern corridor for gas and continues to actively engage with EU partners and countries in the region to help make the concept a reality. The UK will continue to underline its importance to European colleagues at this month's Energy Council, and future EU meetings, as well as continuing to work closely with supply countries in the region on a bi-lateral basis

Recycling: Oils

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to encourage the production of renewable fuels from recycled cooking oil using gravity separation and filtration techniques; and if he will make a statement. [251153]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I have been asked to reply.

The renewable transport fuel obligation requires suppliers of fossil fuel to ensure that a proportion of the fuel they supply is renewable fuel. Under the scheme biodiesel made from waste cooking oil is an eligible renewable fuel.

The Renewable Fuel Agency administers the scheme and their January quarterly report summarises data on fuel supplied between April and October 2008. This report indicates that used cooking oil made up 3 per cent. (22 million litres) of the biofuel supplied over this period to meet the obligation. Their report is available on the RFA website at:

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Mr. Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the value was of his Department's contracts held with SERCO since his Department was established. [253256]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 10 February 2009]: The Department is not at present party to any contracts, as the Transfer of Function Order related to the creation of DECC has not yet come into force. Existing contracts related to energy and climate change matters will remain with BERR and Defra respectively until the Transfer of Function Order comes into force.

Street Lighting

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he expects Ofgem to make an announcement following its consideration of proposals for central monitoring systems for street lights. [250761]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 26 January 2009]: In April 2008 Ofgem issued an open letter that sought views regarding whether it should seek to facilitate the development of Central Management Systems (CMS). Although there was substantial stakeholder engagement with the consultation, there was no clear consensus on whether there was a need for the changes proposed. I understand, therefore, that Ofgem is currently considering the way forward.


Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) males and (b) females aged (i) 18 years and more and (ii) 17 years and less were admitted to each hospital in England in each of the last five years with an alcohol-related reason for the admission, broken down by primary care trust. [255752]

Dawn Primarolo: Tables which give the numbers of alcohol-related finished admissions by primary care trust (PCT) of residence and health care provider for the years 2002-03 to 2006-07, broken down by age and sex have been placed in the Library. These are the last five years for which data are available.

Some PCT boundaries changed between 2002-03 and 2003-04 and between 2005-06 and 2006-07.

Separate breakdowns have been provided for PCT of residence and healthcare provider, rather than a combined breakdown, to reduce the amount of information that has to be suppressed to prevent the disclosure of personal information.

Alcoholism: Health Services

Bill Etherington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to assess the effectiveness of alcohol rehabilitation services in each strategic health authority. [255317]

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Dawn Primarolo: It is the responsibility of primary care trusts (PCTs), local social services authorities, and their partner agencies to estimate the level and nature of need for alcohol treatment services for their local populations and the effectiveness of the services that they commission to meet these needs, as part of local commissioning.

From April 2008, a new indicator became part of both National Health Service Vital Signs and the National Indicator Set for Local Area Agreements. This measures change in the rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions and will help PCTs assess the effectiveness of the services that they are commissioning in relation to alcohol treatment. There are 99 PCTs and 76 local authorities which have included this indicator as one of their local priorities, setting out local targets and plans for reducing alcohol related hospital admissions.

The Department's World Class Commissioning Programme will drive forward real improvements in how services (including alcohol treatment services) are commissioned resulting in tangible improvements in outcomes and patient experience.

Autism: North East

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to address the needs of children with high levels of autistic traits in the North East. [254894]

Phil Hope: The Department is taking forward a programme of work to benefit children and adults with autistic spectrum conditions in all parts of the country, including the North East.

The National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services (NSF), published in 2004, a copy of which has already been placed in the Library, included a series of exemplar patient journeys. These illustrated some of the key themes in the NSF and showed how some children and young people might access the services they need. One such exemplar covered children with autistic spectrum conditions.

Blood: Contamination

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Cardiff Central of 30 June 2008, Official Report, column 652W, on blood products, if he will disclose the 35 documents wholly or partly withheld by his Department which relate to the infection of haemophiliacs by contaminated blood products. [256830]

Dawn Primarolo: These 35 documents were the only papers out of some 4,500 that were, after careful consideration, withheld under an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The exemptions that applied are:

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For the avoidance of any continuing doubt in this matter, and given the time that has now elapsed, I have asked the Department’s officials to review the seven documents withheld under Section 43 (Commercial interests), to see if there is another way that this information can be placed in the public domain.

In relation to the other three categories, these documents have been withheld for reasons that are clearly provided for within the FOI Act, and not in any way to withhold relevant information on the subject of contamination of blood and blood products.

Blood: Diseases

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will include provisions for care for Thalassaemia within his Department’s standards for clinical care. [255387]

Ann Keen: The UK Thalassaemia Society produced, “Standards for the Clinical Care of Children and Adults with Thalassaemia in the UK” in June 2005 and updated them in October 2008.

The Department supports this document and encourages the national health service to use it.

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