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Gas And Electricity Disconnections

Volume 932: debated on Monday 16 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is satisfied with present procedures in relation to disconnections.

Yes, Sir. All area electricity boards and gas regions have now instructed their staffs in the application of the code of practice on payment of gas and electricity bills. The industries are monitoring operation of the code and the Department of Energy is being kept informed.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his reply. Despite the evidence of the Department, is he aware that there are still disconnections and that if there had been a little research—this applies especially to poor people and old-age pensioners—the disconnections or threats of disconnection would not have taken place? During the summer months will my hon. Friend try to establish better liaison between electricity and gas managements and the social service departments of local authorities?

As the code is an innovation, we recognise that there will be teething troubles. We have no evidence of any major breach of either the letter of the code or the principles behind it. If my hon. Friend knows of specific instances where he feels that the code should have protected people from disconnection but has not done so, I hope that he will refer them to me without delay.