The move comes against a background of bitter wrangling among the electricity companies. Some have been attempting to delay competition and have warned of substantial costs for consumers to cover the computers and other systems which will be needed. The foot-dragging has incensed Tim Eggar, energy and industry minister, who is determined to avert any delay.
The electricity trading pool has committed itself to forging ahead with competition in the domestic market from 1998. The assurance by the executive committee that runs the trading system was given to the regulator, Professor Stephen Littlechild, yesterday. But the pool also issued an urgent call for the watchdog to take responsibility for managing the complex project.