MPs may look into gas deals
Thursday 04 January 1996
The House of Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee may launch an inquiry into British Gas contracts with North Sea producers that are forcing the company to pay hundreds of millions of pounds for gas which it cannot yet sell.
The Gas Consumers Council has called for the investigation because it fears that consumers rather than shareholders will end up footing the bill for the contracts. Martin O'Neill, the chairman of the committee, confirmed that the issue would be discussed at a meeting next week. British Gas said that it would co-operate fully in any inquiry.
The issue exploded at the end of last year when Clare Spottiswoode, the industry watchdog, warned that the problem could pose a threat to British Gas's financial security.
She is currently considering whether some of the cost of the contracts should be passed through to consumers through the domestic price control formula.
British Gas has appealed for government support in renegotiating the contracts or in finding some other solution to its predicament.
The company argues that the contracts were entered into when it had a monopoly in the supply of gas and that the Government, by opening up the market, should take part of the blame. One solution mooted is that other gas suppliers should help to pay through a levy on the use of the pipelines, but the GCC argues that ultimately this too would hurt consumers.
Ian Powe, director of the GCC, said: "Whoever is at fault it is not customers." Mr Powe said he had no desire to see British Gas "go to the wall" but that the Trade and Industry Committee could at least ensure that all the issues were fully and fairly aired.
"Until we are given all the facts we must resist any notion that consumers should pay," he said.
- 1 Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
US blames Russia after rocket attacks in Ukraine kill at least 30
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...