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Utilities Act 2000 (c. 27)

(The document as of February, 2008)

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Utilities Act 2000

2000 CHAPTER 27

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Content
  1. Part I

    New regulatory arrangements

    1. 1. Gas and Electricity Markets Authority.

    2. 2. Gas and Electricity Consumer Council.

    3. 3. Transfer to Authority and Council of functions, property etc.

    4. 4. Forward work programmes.

    5. 5. Annual and other reports of Authority.

    6. 6. Publication of advice and information about consumer matters.

    7. 7. Co-operation between Authority and Council.

    8. 8. Payments by licence holders relating to new arrangements.

  2. Part II

    Objectives of regulation of gas and electricity

    1. Gas

      1. 9. Objectives and duties under 1986 Act.

      2. 10. Guidance on social and environmental matters in relation to gas.

      3. 11. Health and safety in relation to gas.

      4. 12. Exceptions from the general duties under 1986 Act.

    2. Electricity

      1. 13. Objectives and duties under 1989 Act.

      2. 14. Guidance on social and environmental matters in relation to electricity.

      3. 15. Health and safety in relation to electricity.

      4. 16. Exceptions from the general duties under 1989 Act.

  3. Part III

    Functions of the Council

    1. 17. Preliminary.

    2. 18. Acquisition and review of information.

    3. 19. Provision of advice and information to public authorities and other persons.

    4. 20. Provision of information to consumers.

    5. 21. Power to publish advice and information about consumer matters.

    6. 22. Complaints.

    7. 23. Investigations.

    8. 24. Provision of information to Council.

    9. 25. Publication of notice of reasons.

    10. 26. Provision of information by Council to Authority.

    11. 27. Sections 24 to 26: supplementary.

  4. Part IV

    Amendment of the Electricity Act 1989

    1. Electricity licensing

      1. 28. Prohibition on unlicensed distribution of electricity.

      2. 29. Exemptions from electricity licensing.

      3. 30. Licences authorising supply etc. of electricity.

      4. 31. Enactments referring to public electricity suppliers.

      5. 32. Electricity licence conditions.

      6. 33. Standard conditions of electricity licences.

      7. 34. Modification of conditions of particular licence.

      8. 35. Modification of standard conditions of licences.

      9. 36. Electricity licence modification references.

      10. 37. Reports on modification references.

      11. 38. Modification following report.

      12. 39. Competition Commission's power to veto modifications.

      13. 40. Modification by order under other enactments.

      14. 41. Transfer of electricity licences.

      15. 42. Reasons for decisions under 1989 Act.

      16. 43. Altering activities requiring electricity licence.

    2. Duties of electricity distributors

      1. 44. Duty to connect on request.

      2. 45. Abolition of tariffs.

      3. 46. Power to recover expenditure.

      4. 47. Power to require security.

      5. 48. Additional terms of connection.

      6. 49. Special agreements with respect to connection.

      7. 50. General duties of electricity distributors.

    3. Electricity code and metering

      1. 51. The electricity code.

      2. 52. Amendment of Schedule 7 to 1989 Act.

    4. Powers of electricity licence holders

      1. 53. Powers of electricity licence holders.

    5. Electricity performance standards

      1. 54. Standards of performance in individual cases.

      2. 55. Overall standards of performance.

      3. 56. Standards of performance: procedures.

      4. 57. Information with respect to levels of performance.

      5. 58. Information to be given to customers.

    6. Enforcement of obligations

      1. 68. Modification of licences: electricity trading arrangements.

      2. 69. Help for disadvantaged groups of electricity customers.

      3. 70. Energy efficiency requirements for electricity distributors and suppliers.

      4. 71. General duties of transmission licence holders in Scotland.

      5. 72. Uniform prices etc. in certain areas of Scotland.

      6. 73. Maximum prices for reselling electricity.

  5. Part V

    Amendment of the Gas Act 1986

    1. Gas licensing

      1. 74. Gas licence conditions.

      2. 75. Exceptions from section 5 of 1986 Act.

      3. 76. Gas transporters.

      4. 77. Restriction on use of certain pipe-lines for providing a supply of gas.

      5. 78. Construction of pipe-lines by gas transporters.

      6. 79. Duty to facilitate competition.

      7. 80. Gas transporters' duty to make a connection.

      8. 81. Standard conditions of gas licences.

      9. 82. Modification of standard conditions of gas licences.

      10. 83. Modification following Competition Commission report.

      11. 84. The gas code.

      12. 85. Transfer of gas licences.

      13. 86. Exemptions from gas licensing.

      14. 87. Reasons for decisions under 1986 Act.

      15. 88. Altering activities requiring gas licence.

    2. Gas performance standards

      1. 89. Repeal of section 10(2) to (5) of Gas Act 1995.

      2. 90. Standards of performance in individual cases.

      3. 91. Overall standards of performance.

      4. 92. Standards of performance: procedures.

      5. 93. Information with respect to levels of performance.

      6. 94. Information to be given to customers.

    3. Enforcement of obligations

      1. 95. Financial penalties.

      2. 96. Licence enforcement.

    4. Remuneration and service standards

      1. 97. Links between directors' remuneration and gas service standards.

    5. Miscellaneous

      1. 98. Help for disadvantaged groups of gas customers.

      2. 99. Energy efficiency requirements for gas transporters and suppliers.

      3. 100. Exercise of powers to make regulations.

      4. 101. Standards of gas quality.

      5. 102. Maximum prices for reselling gas.

  6. Part VI

    Miscellaneous and Supplementary

    1. Miscellaneous

      1. 103. Overall energy efficiency targets.

      2. 104. Specialist members of the Competition Commission.

      3. 105. General restrictions on disclosure of information.

    2. Supplementary

      1. 106. Interpretation.

      2. 107. Financial provisions.

      3. 108. Amendments, transitional provisions and repeals.

      4. 109. Power to make transitional provision etc.

      5. 110. Short title, commencement and extent.

  7. Schedules:

    1. Schedule 1

      The Gas and Electricity Markets Authority.

    2. Schedule 2

      The Gas and Electricity Consumer Council.

    3. Schedule 3

      Further provision about transfers of functions, property etc..

    4. Schedule 4

      Schedule to be substituted for Schedule 6 to the 1989 Act.

    5. Schedule 5

      Electricity metering.

    6. Schedule 6

      Minor and consequential amendments.

      1. Part I

        Gas Act 1986.

      2. Part II

        Electricity Act 1989.

      3. Part III

        Other Acts.

    7. Schedule 7

      Transitional provisions and savings.

      1. Part I

        Separation of electricity supply and distribution.

      2. Part II

        Secretary of State's licensing schemes.

      3. Part III

        Former tariff customers.

      4. Part IV

        Other transitional provisions and savings.

    8. Schedule 8

      Repeals.

An Act to provide for the establishment and functions of the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority and the Gas and Electricity Consumer Council; to amend the legislation regulating the gas and electricity industries; and for connected purposes.

[28th July 2000]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:--



Part I New regulatory arrangements

1 Gas and Electricity Markets Authority

(1) There shall be a body corporate to be known as the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (in this Act referred to as "the Authority") for the purpose of carrying out--

(a) functions transferred to the Authority from the Director General of Gas Supply and the Director General of Electricity Supply; and

(b) the other functions of the Authority under this Act.

(2) The functions of the Authority are performed on behalf of the Crown.

(3) The offices of Director General of Gas Supply and Director General of Electricity Supply are abolished.

(4) Schedule 1 has effect with respect to the Authority.

2 Gas and Electricity Consumer Council

(1) There shall be a body corporate to be known as the Gas and Electricity Consumer Council (in this Act referred to as "the Council") for the purpose of carrying out the functions of the Council under this Act.

(2) The Council shall not be regarded as a servant or agent of the Crown or as enjoying any status, immunity or privilege of the Crown.

(3) The Gas Consumers' Council established under section 2 of the [1986 c. 44.] Gas Act 1986 (in this Act referred to as "the 1986 Act") and the consumers' committees established under section 2 of the [1989 c. 29.] Electricity Act 1989 (in this Act referred to as "the 1989 Act") are abolished.

(4) Schedule 2 has effect with respect to the Council.

3 Transfer to Authority and Council of functions, property etc

(1) The functions of the Director General of Gas Supply and the Director General of Electricity Supply ("the Directors") are transferred to the Authority.

(2) Any enactment which--

(a) relates to a function of either of the Directors; and

(b) is in force immediately before the transfer by subsection (1) of that function,

shall have effect after the transfer, so far as necessary for the purposes of or in consequence of the transfer, as if references to the Director were references to the Authority.

(3) The Secretary of State may make one or more schemes ("transfer schemes") for the transfer of the property, rights and liabilities of the Directors to the Authority or to the Council.

(4) A transfer scheme may provide for the transfer to the Council of rights and liabilities relating to persons employed in the civil service of the state.

(5) On the day appointed by a transfer scheme, the property, rights and liabilities which are the subject of the scheme shall, by virtue of this subsection, be transferred in accordance with the provisions of the scheme.

(6) The property, rights and liabilities of the Gas Consumers' Council (including rights and obligations in relation to contracts of employment) are, by virtue of this subsection, transferred to the Council.

(7) Subsection (6) has effect in relation to property, rights or liabilities to which it applies in spite of any provision (of whatever nature) which would prevent or restrict the transfer of the property, rights or liabilities otherwise than by that subsection.

(8) Schedule 3 has effect in relation to transfer schemes and transfers by any provision of this Act of functions, property, rights and liabilities to the Authority or Council.

4 Forward work programmes

(1) The Authority and the Council shall, before each financial year, each publish a document (the "forward work programme") containing a general description of the projects, other than those comprising routine activities in the exercise of its functions, which it plans to undertake during the year.

(2) That description must include the objectives of each project.

(3) The forward work programme for any year shall also include an estimate of the overall expenditure which the Authority or the Council expects to incur during the year in the exercise of its functions.

(4) Before publishing the forward work programme for any year, the Authority or the Council shall give notice--

(a) containing a draft of the forward work programme, and

(b) specifying the time within which representations or objections to the proposals contained in it may be made,

and shall consider any representations or objections which are duly made and not withdrawn.

(5) The notice under subsection (4) must be published by the Authority or the Council in such manner as it considers appropriate for the purpose of bringing the matters contained in it to the attention of persons likely to be affected by them.

(6) The Authority must send a copy of any notice given by it under subsection (4) to the Council.

(7) The Council must send a copy of any notice given by it under subsection (4) to the Authority and the Secretary of State.

5 Annual and other reports of Authority

(1) The Authority shall, as soon as practicable after the end of each financial year, make to the Secretary of State a report (the "annual report" for that year) on--

(a) its activities during that year, and

(b) the activities of the Competition Commission during that year in respect of any references made by the Authority.

(2) The annual report for each year shall include--

(a) a general survey of developments in respect of matters falling within the scope of the Authority's functions, including in particular developments in competition between persons engaged in, or in commercial activities connected with--

(i) the shipping, transportation or supply of gas conveyed through pipes; or

(ii) the generation, transmission, distribution or supply of electricity;

(b) a report on the progress of the projects described in the forward work programme for that year;

(c) a summary of final and provisional orders made and penalties imposed by the Authority during the year; and

(d) a report on such other matters as the Secretary of State may from time to time require.

(3) The annual report for each year shall set out any general directions given by the Secretary of State under section 34(3) of the 1986 Act or section 47(2) of the 1989 Act.

(4) The Secretary of State shall consult the Authority before exercising the power under subsection (2)(d) in relation to any matter.

(5) The Secretary of State shall--

(a) lay a copy of each annual report before each House of Parliament; and

(b) arrange for the report to be published in such manner as he considers appropriate.

(6) The Authority may also prepare other reports with respect to any matter falling within the scope of its functions and may arrange for any such report to be published in such manner as it considers appropriate.

(7) The Authority shall send a copy of each annual or other report published under this section to the Council.

(8) In making or preparing any report under this section the Authority shall have regard to the need for excluding, so far as that is practicable, any matter which relates to the affairs of a particular individual or body of persons (corporate or unincorporate), where publication of that matter would or might, in the opinion of the Authority, seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual or body.

(9) Section 125(1) of the [1973 c. 41.] Fair Trading Act 1973 (annual and other reports) does not apply to activities of the Competition Commission on which the Authority is required to report under this section.

(10) Section 39 of the 1986 Act (annual and other reports of the Director General of Gas Supply) and section 50 of the 1989 Act (annual and other reports of the Director General of Electricity Supply) shall cease to have effect.

6 Publication of advice and information about consumer matters

(1) For section 35 of the 1986 Act (publication by Director of information and advice) there is substituted--

" 35 Publication of advice and information about consumer matters

(1) If it appears to the Authority that the publication of any advice and information would promote the interests of consumers in relation to gas conveyed through pipes, the Authority may publish that advice or information in such manner as it thinks fit.

(2) In publishing advice or information under this section the Authority shall have regard to the need for excluding, so far as that is practicable, any matter which relates to the affairs of a particular individual or body of persons (corporate or unincorporate), where publication of that matter would or might, in the opinion of the Authority, seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual or body.

(3) Before deciding to publish under this section any advice or information relating to a particular individual or body of persons the Authority shall consult that individual or body.

(4) In this section "consumers" includes both existing and future consumers. "

(2) For subsections (1) and (2) of section 48 of the 1989 Act (publication by Director of information and advice) there is substituted--

" (1) If it appears to the Authority that the publication of any advice and information would promote the interests of consumers in relation to electricity conveyed by distribution systems, the Authority may publish that advice or information in such manner as it thinks fit.

(2) In publishing advice or information under this section the Authority shall have regard to the need for excluding, so far as that is practicable, any matter which relates to the affairs of a particular individual or body of persons (corporate or unincorporate), where publication of that matter would or might, in the opinion of the Authority, seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual or body.

(2A) Before deciding to publish under this section any advice or information relating to a particular individual or body of persons the Authority shall consult that individual or body. "

(3) After subsection (3) of that section there is inserted--

" (4) In this section "consumers" includes both existing and future consumers. "

7 Co-operation between Authority and Council

(1) The Authority and the Council shall make arrangements with a view to securing--

(a) co-operation and the exchange of information between them; and

(b) consistent treatment of matters which affect both of them.

(2) As soon as practicable after agreement is reached on those arrangements, the Authority and the Council shall prepare a memorandum setting them out and send a copy of it to the Secretary of State.

(3) Arrangements under this section shall be kept under review by the Authority and the Council.

(4) As soon as practicable after agreement is reached on any changes to those arrangements, the Authority and the Council shall revise their memorandum and send a copy of the revised memorandum to the Secretary of State.

(5) The Secretary of State shall lay a copy of any document received by him under this section before each House of Parliament.

8 Payments by licence holders relating to new arrangements

(1) In this section "payment conditions" means--

(a) in relation to a gas licence, conditions included in the licence by virtue of section 7B(4)(c) of the 1986 Act; or

(b) in relation to an electricity licence, conditions included in the licence by virtue of section 7(1)(b) of the 1989 Act.

(2) The payment conditions of a gas licence or an electricity licence may (without prejudice to the generality of the provisions mentioned in subsection (1)) require the payment by the licence holder of sums relating to any of the expenses mentioned in subsection (3).

(3) Those expenses are--

(a) the expenses of the Council; and

(b) the expenses of the Secretary of State in relation to the establishment of the Authority and the Council.

(4) The Authority may, in accordance with this section, modify any payment conditions of a gas licence or an electricity licence where the Authority considers it necessary or expedient to do so in consequence of, or of preparations for--

(a) the establishment of the Authority or the Council; or

(b) the abolition of any office or body mentioned in section 1(3) or 2(3).

(5) Where the Authority modifies any payment conditions of a licence under subsection (4) it may make such incidental or consequential modifications as it considers necessary or expedient of the other conditions of the licence.

(6) Before modifying the conditions of a licence under subsection (4) or (5) the Authority shall consult the licence holder.

(7) Any consultation undertaken by the Director General of Gas Supply, the Director General of Electricity Supply or the Secretary of State before the commencement of subsection (6) shall be as effective for the purposes of that subsection as if undertaken by the Authority after that time.

(8) The powers of the Authority under subsections (4) and (5) may not be exercised after the end of the period of two years beginning with the commencement of this section.

(9) The Secretary of State may give directions to the Authority for the purpose of securing that sums relating to any of the expenses mentioned in subsection (3) are included in the sums payable by virtue of payment conditions in gas licences and electricity licences; and the Authority shall comply with any such direction.



Part II Objectives of regulation of gas and electricity

Gas

9 Objectives and duties under 1986 Act

For section 4 of the 1986 Act (general duties of Secretary of State and Director) there is substituted--

" 4AA The principal objective and general duties of the Secretary of State and the Authority

(1) The principal objective of the Secretary of State and the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (in this Act referred to as "the Authority") in carrying out their respective functions under this Part is to protect the interests of consumers in relation to gas conveyed through pipes, wherever appropriate by promoting effective competition between persons engaged in, or in commercial activities connected with, the shipping, transportation or supply of gas so conveyed.

(2) The Secretary of State and the Authority shall carry out those functions in the manner which he or it considers is best calculated to further the principal objective, having regard to--

(a) the need to secure that, so far as it is economical to meet them, all reasonable demands in Great Britain for gas conveyed through pipes are met; and

(b) the need to secure that licence holders are able to finance the activities which are the subject of obligations imposed by or under this Part or the Utilities Act 2000.

(3) In performing that duty, the Secretary of State or the Authority shall have regard to the interests of--

(a) individuals who are disabled or chronically sick;

(b) individuals of pensionable age;

(c) individuals with low incomes; and

(d) individuals residing in rural areas;

but that is not to be taken as implying that regard may not be had to the interests of other descriptions of consumer.

(4) The Secretary of State and the Authority may, in carrying out any function under this Part, have regard to--

(a) the interests of consumers in relation to electricity conveyed by distribution systems (within the meaning of the [1989 c. 29.] Electricity Act 1989); and

(b) any interests of consumers in relation to--

(i) telecommunication services and telecommunication apparatus (within the meaning of the [1984 c. 12.] Telecommunications Act 1984); or

(ii) water services or sewerage services (within the meaning of the [1991 c. 56.] Water Industry Act 1991),

which are affected by the carrying out of that function.

(5) Subject to subsection (2), the Secretary of State and the Authority shall carry out their respective functions under this Part in the manner which he or it considers is best calculated--

(a) to promote efficiency and economy on the part of persons authorised by licences or exemptions to carry on any activity, and the efficient use of gas conveyed through pipes;

(b) to protect the public from dangers arising from the conveyance of gas through pipes or from the use of gas conveyed through pipes; and

(c) to secure a diverse and viable long-term energy supply,

and shall have regard, in carrying out those functions, to the effect on the environment of activities connected with the conveyance of gas through pipes.

(6) In this section "consumers" includes both existing and future consumers.

(7) In this section and sections 4AB and 4A, references to functions of the Secretary of State or the Authority under this Part include a reference to functions under the Utilities Act 2000 which relate to gas conveyed through pipes.

(8) In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires,--

  • "exemption" means an exemption granted under section 6A;

  • "licence" means a licence under section 7 or 7A and "licence holder" shall be construed accordingly. "

10 Guidance on social and environmental matters in relation to gas

After section 4AA of the 1986 Act (which is inserted by section 9 above) there is inserted--

" 4AB Guidance on social and environmental matters

(1) The Secretary of State shall from time to time issue guidance about the making by the Authority of a contribution towards the attainment of any social or environmental policies set out or referred to in the guidance.

(2) The Authority shall, in carrying out its functions under this Part, have regard to any guidance issued under this section.

(3) Before issuing guidance under this section the Secretary of State shall consult--

(a) the Authority;

(b) the Gas and Electricity Consumer Council (in this Act referred to as "the Council");

(c) licence holders; and

(d) such other persons as the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to consult in relation to the guidance.

(4) A draft of any guidance proposed to be issued under this section shall be laid before each House of Parliament.

(5) Guidance shall not be issued under this section until after the period of forty days beginning with--

(a) the day on which the draft is laid before each House of Parliament; or

(b) if the draft is laid before the House of Lords on one day and the House of Commons on another, the later of those two days.

(6) If, before the end of that period, either House resolves that the guidance should not be issued, the Secretary of State must not issue it.

(7) In reckoning any period of forty days for the purposes of subsection (5) or (6), no account shall be taken of any time during which--

(a) Parliament is dissolved or prorogued; or

(b) both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.

(8) The Secretary of State shall arrange for any guidance issued under this section to be published in such manner as he considers appropriate. "

11 Health and safety in relation to gas

For section 4A of the 1986 Act (duties with respect to safety) there is substituted--

" 4A Health and safety

(1) The Secretary of State and the Authority shall consult the Health and Safety Commission about all gas safety issues which may be relevant to the carrying out of any of their respective functions under this Part.

(2) The Secretary of State and the Authority shall, in carrying out their respective functions under this Part, take into account any advice given by the Health and Safety Commission about any gas safety issue (whether or not in response to consultation under subsection (1)).

(3) For the purposes of this section a gas safety issue is anything concerning the conveyance of gas through pipes, or the use of gas conveyed through pipes, which may affect the health and safety of--

(a) members of the public; or

(b) persons employed in connection with the conveyance of gas through pipes or the supply of gas conveyed through pipes. "

12 Exceptions from the general duties under 1986 Act

After section 4A of the 1986 Act there is inserted--

" 4B Exceptions from sections 4AA to 4A

(1) Section 4AA does not apply in relation to the issuing by the Secretary of State of guidance under section 4AB.

(2) Sections 4AA to 4A do not apply in relation to anything done by the Authority--

(a) in the exercise of functions relating to the determination of disputes; or

(b) in the exercise of functions under section 36A(3).

(3) The Authority may nevertheless, when exercising any function under section 36A(3), have regard to any matter in respect of which a duty is imposed by sections 4AA to 4A if it is a matter to which the Director General of Fair Trading could have regard when exercising that function.

(4) The duties imposed by sections 4AA to 4A do not affect the obligation of the Authority or the Secretary of State to perform or comply with any other duty or requirement (whether arising under this Act or another enactment, by virtue of any Community obligation or otherwise). "



Electricity

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13 Objectives and duties under 1989 Act

For section 3 of the 1989 Act (general duties of Secretary of State and Director) there is substituted--

" 3A The principal objective and general duties of the Secretary of State and the Authority

(1) The principal objective of the Secretary of State and the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (in this Act referred to as "the Authority") in carrying out their respective functions under this Part is to protect the interests of consumers in relation to electricity conveyed by distribution systems, wherever appropriate by promoting effective competition between persons engaged in, or in commercial activities connected with, the generation, transmission, distribution or supply of electricity.

(2) The Secretary of State and the Authority shall carry out those functions in the manner which he or it considers is best calculated to further the principal objective, having regard to--

(a) the need to secure that all reasonable demands for electricity are met; and

(b) the need to secure that licence holders are able to finance the activities which are the subject of obligations imposed by or under this Part or the Utilities Act 2000.

(3) In performing that duty, the Secretary of State or the Authority shall have regard to the interests of--

(a) individuals who are disabled or chronically sick;

(b) individuals of pensionable age;

(c) individuals with low incomes; and

(d) individuals residing in rural areas;

but that is not to be taken as implying that regard may not be had to the interests of other descriptions of consumer.

(4) The Secretary of State and the Authority may, in carrying out any function under this Part, have regard to--

(a) the interests of consumers in relation to gas conveyed through pipes (within the meaning of the [1986 c. 44.] Gas Act 1986); and

(b) any interests of consumers in relation to--

(i) telecommunication services and telecommunication apparatus (within the meaning of the [1984 c. 12.] Telecommunications Act 1984); or

(ii) water services or sewerage services (within the meaning of the [1991 c. 56.] Water Industry Act 1991),

which are affected by the carrying out of that function.

(5) Subject to subsection (2), the Secretary of State and the Authority shall carry out their respective functions under this Part in the manner which he or it considers is best calculated--

(a) to promote efficiency and economy on the part of persons authorised by licences or exemptions to transmit, distribute or supply electricity and the efficient use of electricity conveyed by distribution systems;

(b) to protect the public from dangers arising from the generation, transmission, distribution or supply of electricity; and

(c) to secure a diverse and viable long-term energy supply,

and shall, in carrying out those functions, have regard to the effect on the environment of activities connected with the generation, transmission, distribution or supply of electricity.

(6) In this section "consumers" includes both existing and future consumers.

(7) In this section and sections 3B and 3C, references to functions of the Secretary of State or the Authority under this Part include a reference to functions under the Utilities Act 2000 which relate to electricity conveyed by distribution systems.

(8) In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires--

  • "exemption" means an exemption granted under section 5;

  • "licence" means a licence under section 6 and "licence holder" shall be construed accordingly. "

14 Guidance on social and environmental matters in relation to electricity

After section 3A of the 1989 Act (which is inserted by section 13 above) there is inserted--

" 3B Guidance on social and environmental matters

(1) The Secretary of State shall from time to time issue guidance about the making by the Authority of a contribution towards the attainment of any social or environmental policies set out or referred to in the guidance.

(2) The Authority shall, in carrying out its functions under this Part, have regard to any guidance issued under this section.

(3) Before issuing guidance under this section the Secretary of State shall consult--

(a) the Authority;

(b) the Gas and Electricity Consumer Council (in this Act referred to as "the Council");

(c) licence holders; and

(d) such other persons as the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to consult in relation to the guidance.

(4) A draft of any guidance proposed to be issued under this section shall be laid before each House of Parliament.

(5) Guidance shall not be issued under this section until after the period of forty days beginning with--

(a) the day on which the draft is laid before each House of Parliament; or

(b) if the draft is laid before the House of Lords on one day and the House of Commons on another, the later of those two days.

(6) If, before the end of that period, either House resolves that the guidance should not be issued, the Secretary of State must not issue it.

(7) In reckoning any period of forty days for the purposes of subsection (5) or (6), no account shall be taken of any time during which--

(a) Parliament is dissolved or prorogued; or

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