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Electricity Prices

Volume 448: debated on Monday 3 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received about the impact of recent changes in electricity prices on manufacturing industry; and if he will make a statement. (81475)

I have received a number of letters and have held several meetings with manufacturing sectors regarding the impact of recent changes in electricity prices.

The Government fully appreciate that high electricity prices have an impact on the competitiveness of industry, and, of course, take very seriously the potential loss of jobs and investment.

I have also had discussions with the Energy Intensive Users Group and others to help us focus our efforts on maximising gas and electricity supplies, improve the operation of the market, encourage demand-side response and pursue fair access to markets across Europe.

Over the summer we are pursuing a detailed work plan with Ofgem, the national grid, industry and others to ensure that we are in the best possible position ahead of next winter. The new Business Energy Forum, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 16 May, will hold its inaugural meeting on 5 July to discuss security of supply from a strategic viewpoint and enable us to maintain the high level of dialogue and input from these and other sectors.