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Domestic Energy Supplies

Volume 32: debated on Thursday 18 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the reason for the difference in figures given for the quarterly standing charge in respect of gas in his replies to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr on 15 February, Official Report, c. 12 and 25 October, c. 253, and those given to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange (Mr. Parry) on 12 November, c. 308.

The reply given to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) on 15 February gave, in respect of gas, an average of the amounts charged by gas regions in different areas under the heading "standing charge". Until April 1981 the first 52 therms of domestic consumption were charged each quarter al a significantly higher rate than subsequent therms. For comparative purposes it is more appropriate to include the higher cost element of this first tranche of consumption. as was done for the answer provided to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange (Mr. Parry), and in the Price Commission report "British Gas Corporation—Gas Prices and Allied Charges, HMSO July 1979"—paragraphs 5.13 and 10.20. The general zone tariff formed the basis of the latter reply.