asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will issue a general direction to area electricity boards to install ripple control in order to save fuel.
No, Sir. Both my Department and the Electricity Council are actively studying the potential advantages of ripple control. The possible benefits would lie mainly in capital savings rather than in fuel savings.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that ripple control is widely used on the Continent and that recent cost-benefit analysis has shown that a return of more than 50 per cent. would be achieved if this country adopted the same control because of the reduction that would be possible in investment in distribution and generation equipment?
Yes, we are aware that it is being used in other countries, but it would be naïve to assume that techniques used overseas could be transplanted untouched into this country. We are studying the matter with various organisations, and no doubt the hon. Gentleman will be made aware of the results of those studies when the reports have been sufficiently assessed.
Does not my hon. Friend agree that as a result of recent developments there is likely to be a substantial increase in the price of electricity, which will automatically result in a substantial reduction in demand for it? Has he had any estimates from the electricity authorities of the effect of that likely increase in prices?
That is a different question. However, no doubt my hon. Friend read in the Press during the weekend the various assessments that have been made in this respect. No doubt my right hon. Friend will be making a statement when the time comes.