Power watchdog deals blow to the miners
In a report to be published today, Offer rules that the regional companies have done no wrong in signing up for long-term contracts to buy electricity from new gas-fired power stations. These plants, many of which include regional electricity companies as major investors, are one of the reasons behind British Coal's decision to close 31 deep mines with the loss of 30,000 jobs.
The Offer report will exacerbate a government dilemma concerning the future of the 31 mines. Conservative backbenchers are threatening rebellion if ministers do not act to save about half the collieries. However, without cutting back on gas-fired generation or on nuclear plants, ministers are unlikely to be able to save enough mines to satisfy the rebels. A White Paper on energy policy and coal originally expected this week has already been delayed.
The generators National Power and PowerGen are resisting pressure to buy more coal than they need because the future market is already crowded with nuclear power and gas.
Offer is also understood to be questioning whether the two generators are fully passing on the benefit of falling coal prices to regional companies and the consumers they supply.
Professor Stephen Littlechild, the director general of Offer, is likely to investigate the contracts between British Coal and the generators and those between the generators and the supply companies with a view to ensuring lower prices to benefit everyone.
Meanwhile supply companies are likely to be allowed to continue passing through any extra cost of expensive coal-fired generation to consumers in their monopoly markets.
- 1 Qataris pledge to expand Canary Wharf
- 2 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 3 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 4 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
- 5 Watch eerie drone footage of destroyed building in Stalingrad
#JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
UK election candidates: 'Nasty party' Ukip faces fresh questions on eve of vote
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party's the right choice for you
Ohio 'Shawshank Redemption' fugitive Frank Freshwater arrested after 56 years on the run
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
General Election 2015: Sturgeon claims Scots 'appalled' by Ed Miliband's refusal to work with SNP
£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...