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Northern Ireland Office: Electricity

Volume 709: debated on Tuesday 24 March 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 24 February (WA 61) concerning the cost of electricity for the Northern Ireland Office, why the cost rose 61 per cent between 2003–04 and 2007–08. [HL1822]

An analysis of the costs has shown that there are two main reasons for the increase in the department's (excluding agencies and Executive NDPBs) electricity expenditure between 2003-04 and 2007-08.

an increase in charges from approximately £0.085 to £0.113 per unit consumed. This is equivalent to a 33 per cent price rise. The department does not hold details of the units of electricity consumed in 2003-04, so it is not possible to compare consumption totals; and

an increase in staff numbers from 1,032 to 1,251 (a 21 per cent rise). This has resulted in increased accommodation costs, including electricity. During this period the Public Prosecution Service (PPS)—whose staff are included in these numbers—have increased from 237 to 546 staff (an increase of 309). The PPS was established in June 2005 by the Justice (NI) Act 2002 and is now responsible for all criminal cases previously prosecuted by the Department of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPPNI) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). The PPS has been implemented over a number of phases from 2003 onwards and staffing levels have increased accordingly. Excluding the Public Prosecution Service, the department's staff numbers have actually decreased over the period.