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Lord Triesman moved Amendment No. 217A:


The noble Lord said: My Lords, the amendments in this group are intended to clarify various aspects of the clause and to ensure that the policy intention of replacing the hydrobenefit licence condition is not undermined by future changes in the electricity market. That will maximise the benefit of the scheme to customers in the north of Scotland.

Amendments Nos. 217A and 217G seek to ensure that the recipient of the assistance under the new scheme is the appropriate distribution network operator rather than a future distribution company which, although operating within the same area, will not face the same costs as the intended recipient.

Amendments Nos. 217B and 217C are required to ensure that the new scheme is passed on to suppliers and does not leak away through future charges to generators. An additional amendment—Amendment No. 217D—ensures that individuals are not required to provide information which they could not be compelled to give in evidence in civil proceedings in the High Court or the Court of Session and which would, for obvious reasons, be inappropriate. Amendment No. 217E will oblige Ofgem to enforce the provision, and Amendment No. 217F has been tabled in order to clarify the meaning of a licence holder in this context.

All that was mentioned in Grand Committee, and it is plainly necessary to make those minor amendments to Clause 157. I hope that they will clarify various aspects of the clause and ensure that the policy intention of replacing the hydrobenefit licence condition is not undermined by future changes in the electricity market. As I said, we believe that that will bring significant benefits to the north of Scotland.

Although we stated in Grand Committee that we thought it might be more appropriate to lay the clause as an amendment to the Electricity Act 1989, I should point out that, having looked at the matter in more detail, we now feel that it should remain a free-standing clause within the Energy Bill. That is simply because there is no logical place to locate the clause within the Electricity Act—a point made to us by one or two noble Lords during the Grand Committee stage—and that is what we are attempting to accomplish.

Perhaps I may respond to a question which I understand the noble Lord, Lord Gray, raised yesterday. I apologise for not having heard him do so but I believe that I am accurately informed that he did. The question that he raised was also the subject of a brief debate. I think I am correct in saying that the noble Lord was referring to the hydrobenefit subsidy when he asked about Scottish hydroelectricity and consumers in the north of Scotland. I am pleased to be able to tell the noble

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Lord that the Government have no intention of replacing the hydrobenefit licence condition with a levy on consumers in the north of Scotland to the value of 270 million. Indeed, the replacement will benefit consumers in the north of Scotland and will be financed by suppliers across Great Britain. I beg to move.

Lord Gray of Contin: My Lords, I wish to acknowledge the statement made by the Minister regarding the subject that I raised last night. I am relieved to hear that there is no question of those who live in the north of Scotland being asked to contribute directly, according to the rumour that I had heard. I am glad to hear that the Government are not changing their present plan on that. Thank you very much.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Triesman moved Amendments Nos. 217B to 217G:


    Page 121, line 2, leave out "and"


    Page 121, line 5, at end insert "and


(c) requires relevant distributors in receipt of a payment under the order to secure, in accordance with the order, that the benefit of the payment is passed to the authorised suppliers supplying electricity in the area of Great Britain in question." Page 121, line 19, at end insert —


"( ) No person may be required under this section to supply information he could not be compelled to give in evidence in civil proceedings in the High Court or the Court of Session." Page 121, line 32, leave out subsection (11) and insert—


"( ) Part 1 of the 1989 Act shall have effect as if every requirement or other duty imposed on a licence holder under this section were a relevant requirement within the meaning of that Part (see section 25(8) of that Act)." Page 121, line 43, at end insert—


""licence holder" has the same meaning as in Part 1 of that Act;" Page 121, line 44, at end insert—


""relevant distributor" means an authorised distributor who distributes electricity by means of a distributions system to which at least 100,000 premises are connected."

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Baroness Miller of Hendon moved Amendment No. 217GA:


    Page 121, line 44, at end insert—


"( ) Section 105 of the Utilities Act 2000 (c. 27) (general restrictions on disclosure of information) shall have effect as if information provided under this section were provided by virtue of the provisions of that Act or the 1989 Act."

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in speaking to Amendment No. 217GA I would like to mention the identical amendment, Amendment No. 217L. That is an amendment to government Amendment No. 217H, which introduces a new clause after Clause 157. I shall move Amendment No. 217L formally at the appropriate time.

The amendment is purely a drafting or technical amendment to correct what appears to be an anomaly or absence of a necessary consequential amendment. The section we are considering contains provisions enabling the Secretary of State to require certain information to be

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given to him. That requirement is wholly within the purview of the Bill and not within the purview of either Section 105 of the Utilities Act 2000 or the 1989 Act. Those two Acts provide protection for confidential information received by the Secretary of State in the circumstances laid down in the two well established and well understood Acts.

This is a different concept from the totally distinct issue of protection of legal privilege, which the Government have covered in the Bill. The amendment simply provides that information given under Clause 157 will be treated in the same way as that given under Section 105 of the Utilities Act and the 1989 Act. In due course, if passed, Amendment No. 217H will need to be adjusted in the same way. I repeat that this is purely a drafting amendment with no issue of principle involved. It is proposed only in the interests of consistency, as information given under each of the three pieces of legislation should be treated in exactly the same way, otherwise considerable confusion and disparities might ensue. I beg to move.

4.15 p.m.

Lord Triesman: My Lords, I am pleased to say that we agree to consider the amendment tabled by the noble Baronesses, Lady Miller of Hendon and Lady Byford, and the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding. We agree that to protect the confidentiality of information provided under the hydrobenefit replacement scheme, Section 105 of the Utilities Act should be applied. We shall return with an amendment to cover that.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that concession or agreement. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Triesman moved Amendment No. 217H:


    After Clause 157, insert the following new clause—


"ADJUSTMENT OF TRANSMISSION CHARGES
(1) The Secretary of State may make an order under this section if it appears to him—
(a) that a particular area of Great Britain is suitable as a location for the generation of electricity from renewable sources;
(b) that, as a result, that area represents an area of high potential for the development of the generation of electricity from such sources; and
(c) that that development is likely to be deterred, or otherwise hindered in a material respect, by the level of charges that would (apart from the order) be imposed by authorised transmitters on persons generating electricity in that area from renewable sources.
(2) An order under this section is one that establishes a scheme which—
(a) limits the amounts of charges that authorised transmitters may impose on persons so generating electricity in that area to amounts determined in accordance with provision contained in the scheme; and
(b) requires the charges imposed by the authorised transmitters on authorised suppliers to be adjusted in accordance with the scheme for the purpose of making good shortfalls resulting from that limitation.

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(3) An order under this section establishing a scheme in relation to the generation of electricity from renewable sources in a particular area must specify the area.
(4) For the purpose of facilitating the implementation of a scheme an order under this section may make such modifications as the Secretary of State considers appropriate of the conditions of the licences of authorised transmitters and of authorised suppliers.
(5) For the purpose of carrying out the functions conferred on him by or under this section the Secretary of State may require—
(a) an authorised supplier,
(b) an authorised distributor, or
(c) an authorised transmitter,
to supply him, in a specified form and within a specified time, with information of a specified description.
(6) No person may be required under subsection (5) to supply information he could not be compelled to give in evidence in civil proceedings in the High Court or the Court of Session.
(7) Before making an order under this section, the Secretary of State must consult such persons as he considers appropriate.
(8) Subsection (7) may be satisfied by consultation that took place wholly or partly before the commencement of this section.
(9) Where a scheme in relation to the generation of electricity from renewable sources within a particular area is in force, no scheme shall be established in relation to the generation of electricity from renewable sources outside that area.
(10) A scheme shall not be applied in relation to a time more than ten years after the commencement of this section.
(11) A scheme—
(a) shall not be applied for a period of more than five years; but
(b) subject to subsection (10), may be renewed at any time by a further order under this section for a period of no more than five years from the coming into force of the further order.
(12) Part 1 of the 1989 Act shall have effect as if every requirement or other duty imposed on a licence holder under this section were a relevant requirement within the meaning of that Part (see section 25(8) of that Act).
(13) In this section—
"authorised distributor" and "authorised supplier" have the same meanings as in Part 1 of the 1989 Act;
"authorised transmitter" means a person authorised by a licence under section 6(1)(b) of that Act to participate in the transmission of electricity;
"licence" means a licence for the purposes of section 4 of that Act;
"licence holder" has the same meaning as in Part 1 of that Act;
"renewable sources" means sources of energy in relation to which the following condition is satisfied, namely, that the production of evidence in respect of electricity generated from those sources is capable of satisfying a renewables obligation imposed by an order under section 32 of that Act (obligation in respect of electricity generated from renewable sources);
"scheme" means a scheme established by an order under this section.
(14) An order under this section is subject to the negative resolution procedure."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendment No. 217H is a response to an amendment tabled in Committee by the noble Baronesses, Lady Byford and Lady Miller of Hendon, the noble Duke, the Duke of Montrose, and the noble Lord, Lord Gray of Contin. I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 217HA, 217J and 217K tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding, as well as

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Amendment No. 217L, tabled by the noble Baronesses, Lady Miller of Hendon and Lady Byford, and the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding.


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