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Electricity Market Reform

Volume 525: debated on Thursday 24 March 2011

16. What recent discussions he has had with representatives of energy-intensive industries on electricity market reform. (48553)

Concerted efforts are made by all Ministers and officials in the Department to engage stakeholders with an interest in electricity market reform, including representatives of energy-intensive industries.

It does not make much sense, either economically or environmentally, when the steel that will be used in the rush to a low-carbon economy is imported from Russia and Ukraine because of electricity market reform and regulatory differences. Tata Steel has a world-class pipe mill in my constituency, and it really wants to play a leading role in the supply chain for the national infrastructure. Will the Secretary of State listen to Tata’s concerns, level the playing field for UK firms and ensure that the competitiveness of firms in this country is not hindered?

We are very keen to listen to Tata’s concerns, and both myself and the Secretary of State for Business have been very aware of energy-intensive industries. It is important to recognise that the costs of a move to the low-carbon economy depend on what we think the costs of staying with the fossil fuel economy are, and judging by recent moves in the oil market we may find that that is a volatile source of supply—and a rather costly one.