8. If she will create one national electricity distribution market. (903591)
The Government do not intend to introduce national electricity distribution pricing as this would weaken each network company’s local accountability to its customers and risk an overall increase in network costs across Great Britain. We are currently consulting, however, on the level of protection provided to consumers in the north of Scotland, which amounts to an average of £41 per household this year.
I thank the Minister for that answer, but may I point out what she said just before Christmas:
“It is not right that people face higher electricity costs just because of where they live”?
I agree with her. Why does she not now take action to introduce fairness into the electricity market? Why are people in the highlands and islands paying 2p per kWh more than people elsewhere? Why are people in my constituency being discriminated against? Do the right thing and create a national market.
As I have said to the hon. Gentleman —we have had this discussion a number of times—I sympathise with his point, but he needs to appreciate that a national charge would mean lower charges in some areas and increases in others. Specifically in Scotland, 1.8 million households would face higher bills while 700,000 would see reductions. This is a very serious problem; he cannot just wave a magic wand and have us change it.