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Electricity Prices

Volume 300: debated on Monday 10 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will make a statement on the progress of discussions about the level of electricity prices in Northern Ireland.[14283]

Electricity prices are coming down. Northern Ireland Electricity reduced tariffs form 1 April 1997 by an average 8 per cent. for domestic and up to 3 per cent. for industrial and commercial customers. The MMC review of NIE's price controls will have retrospective effect from 1 April 1997 and will lead to further tariff reductions of at least 6 per cent. for domestic and 2 per cent. for industrial and commercial customers. The precise details of the revised price controls are currently the subject of legal action. In addition, the Director General of Electricity Supply has secured voluntary agreements on lower generation costs at both Coolkeeragh and Belfast West power stations. He has announced his intention to refer the Ballylumford and Kilroot contracts to the MMC and, in the absence of voluntary agreement on these contracts, is likely to do so very shortly.The Government are discussing with the Director General and NIE how best to use the £45 million balance of the £60 million support package for the future benefit of all electricity consumers.