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Energy Industry

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to bring forward legislation to allow for a low-cost borrowing mechanism in the Northern Ireland energy industry. [116823]

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave on the 4 March 2003. (97894)I am currently awaiting a report and recommendations from a working group, involving my officials and economists from the Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation, which I set up to examine practical options for reducing energy costs in Northern Ireland. I will also wish to hear the views of the Authority, particularly in the light of their latest consultation paper, "Competition and Customer Empowerment—The Next Steps in the Northern Ireland Electricity Market".I have made clear my commitment to reducing energy costs for consumers and business in Northern Ireland in the context of the Department's consultation paper "Towards a New Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland" published on 17 April 2003.

PQ 1000/03
Northern Ireland Departments—Energy Consumption (kWh)—1997–2000
Department1997–981998–991999–20003-year total
DANI10,983,38611,526,18412,231,99734,741,567
DENI643,353,807612,434,387582,684,7521,838,472,946
DED6,353,0846,709,1846,924,02719,986,295
DFP112,289,2072,289,207
DHSS759,388,330784,182,266756,347,6712,299,918,267