Cost of power from gas 'twice coal-fired price'

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Electricity from gas-fired power stations is probably 50 per cent more expensive than that generated by coal, an energy expert said last night

Nigel Lucas, professor of energy policy at Imperial College, London, was asked to assess the relative costs by BBC 2's The Money Programme. He claimed that gas-produced electricity would cost regional distributors half as much again as electricity from existing coal-fired stations.

On the same programme, Malcolm Faulkner, marketing director of the North West Electricity Board (Norweb), agreed that, for now, coal was cheaper than gas for generating electricity.

He said that the regional electricity companies were probably paying up to 50 per cent more for gas-fired power.

But 'the difference is that we are not comparing like with like,' he said. 'We get economic or cheaper electricity from old coal stations, but we cannot guarantee that cheaper (coal-powered) electricity will continue'. Mr Faulkner added: 'The prices that are paid for electricity are closely guarded commercial secrets.'