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Energy Policy

Volume 981: debated on Friday 21 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a further statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy on energy in the Province.

Progress has been made as follows on the various measures outlined in my statement of 23 July 1979. The Northern Ireland electricity service has recently submitted proposals—including the conversion of Kilroot phase II to coal firing—for reducing its dependence on oil for electricity generation, and these are under examination. As an interim measure, to increase the security of Northern Ireland's electricity supply, stocks of oil for electricity generation in the Province have been increased. Recent rises in oil prices necessitate electricity tariff increases in Northern Ireland as elsewhere in the United Kingdom. A comprehensive review of the longer term position of the Northern Ireland electricity service is in progress and, pending the outcome and in order to ease the burden on consumers, I have asked the Northern Ireland electricity service not to increase its tariffs beyond the increases approved for Great Britain, nor to make any further increases in the fuel cost adjustment arrangements, despite the extra costs to the service which these measures may involve. For the latest position on gas, I refer the hon. Member to my reply to a question from the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) on 6 March 1980.