Business and Enterprise Committee

14 May 2008 (PN 37)



The Business & Enterprise Committee today announces its planned oral evidence programme for its inquiry into the UK's energy market. Its first session will be with the consumer watchdog, energywatch. At a time of rising public concern over fuel costs, the Committee will be exploring, among other issues:

€ The case for a referral of the energy market to the Competition Commission;

€ Why consumers on pre-payment meters pay significantly more than direct debit customers;

€ Why liquidity in the gas and electricity forward markets is so low; and

€ Whether the Government and energy companies are doing enough to help the fuel poor.

The Chairman of the Business and Enterprise Committee, Peter Luff MP said: "Consumers and businesses are becoming increasingly concerned about fuel costs, which are rising much faster than general inflation. We will be looking to see if the energy market is functioning effectively, and what more the regulators could or should be doing". Details of the first session are:

Time and Date: 9.15 am, Tuesday 20 May
Location: Committee Room 5
Witness: Mr Allan Asher, Chief Executive, energywatch

The full oral evidence programme for the inquiry is as follows:

Tue 20 May 9.30am : energywatch

Tue 3 June 10.30 am
Industrial consumers:
Major Energy Users' Council
Energy Intensive Users' Group
Chemical Industries Association

11.30 am
Independent generators:
British Energy
Drax Power Ltd
International Power

Thur 5 June 2.30 pm
Fuel poverty groups:
National Energy Action
National Right to Fuel Campaign
Fuel Poverty Advisory Group

Tue 17 June 10. 00 am : Ofgem

11.30 am
Oil and gas companies:

Tue 24 June 9.30 am
Small energy companies:

10.30 am
Large energy companies:
Scottish and Southern Energy
Scottish Power

11.30 am
Large energy companies cont:
RWE npower
EDF Energy

Thur 26 June 9.30 am : European Commission (by video-link)

The programme is indicative, and further witnesses may be included as the inquiry proceeds. Details of location and panel members will be issued in advance of each session. The Committee thanks all those who have submitted written evidence to its inquiry, and regrets that due to time constraints it is not able to take oral evidence from all those who offered to do so.

Further Information:

Committee membership is as follows:
Chairman: Peter Luff MP (Con) (Mid Worcestershire)
Mr Adrian Bailey (Lab) (West Bromwich West)
Roger Berry (Lab) (Kingswood)
Mr Brian Binley (Con) (Northampton South)
Mr Michael Clapham (Lab) (Barnsley West and Pen.)
Mr Lindsay Hoyle (Lab) (Chorley)
Miss Julie Kirkbride (Con) (Bromsgrove)
Anne Moffat (Lab) (East Lothian)
Mark Oaten (Lib Dem) (Winchester)
Mr Mike Weir (SNP) (Angus)
Mr Anthony Wright (Lab) (Great Yarmouth)

Media Enquiries: Laura Humble, Tel 0207 219 2003/ 07917 488 489, email:
Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 5777, email: