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The Energy (Northern Ireland) Order 2003

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This is the original version (as it was originally made).

General restrictions on disclosure of information

This section has no associated Explanatory Memorandum

63.—(1) Information which—

(a)has been obtained under or by virtue of the provisions of this Order, Part II of the Electricity Order or Part II of the Gas Order; and

(b)relates to the affairs of any individual or to any particular business,

shall not be disclosed during the lifetime of the individual or so long as the business continues to be carried on, except as provided below.

(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply to a disclosure made with the consent of the individual or the person for the time being carrying on the business.

(3) Paragraph (1) does not apply to a disclosure if—

(a)it is made for the purpose of facilitating the performance of any functions of the Department, the Authority, the Council or the Competition Commission under the Electricity Order, the Gas Order or this Order;

(b)it is required by a notice under Article 31 or 59 of the Electricity Order, Article 30(1) or (2) of the Gas Order or Article 51 or the information has been obtained in pursuance of a notice under Article 30(2) of the Gas Order;

(c)it is made by a licence holder and is required to be made by a condition of his licence; or

(d)it is made by one licence holder to another and is required by that other licence holder for purposes connected with the carrying on of activities which he is authorised by his licence to carry on.

(4) Paragraph (1) does not apply to any disclosure of information made—

(a)for the purpose of facilitating the performance by a person or body mentioned in paragraph (5) of any function under a statutory provision specified in paragraph (6);

(b)for the purpose of facilitating the performance by the Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland or the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland of any of his or its functions;

(c)for the purpose of facilitating the exercise by the Secretary of State of any power conferred by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (c. 8) or by the statutory provisions relating to companies, insurance companies or insolvency;

(d)for the purpose of facilitating the performance by the Department or the Department of Finance and Personnel of any functions conferred by the statutory provisions relating to companies or insolvency or for the purposes of facilitating the performance of the functions of an inspector appointed under the statutory provisions relating to companies;

(e)for the purpose of facilitating the performance by the official receiver for Northern Ireland of his functions under the statutory provisions relating to insolvency or by a recognised professional body for the purposes of Article 350 of the Insolvency (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 (NI 19) of its functions as such a body;

(f)for the purposes of facilitating the performance by a district council of its functions under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (c. 43);

(g)in connection with the investigation of any criminal offence or for the purposes of any criminal proceedings;

(h)for the purposes of any civil proceedings brought under or by virtue of the Electricity Order, the Gas Order, this Order or any statutory provision specified in paragraph (6); or

(i)in pursuance of a Community obligation;

and sections 17 and 18 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (c. 24) apply to this paragraph as if it were listed in Schedule 4 to that Act.

(5) The persons and bodies specified for the purposes of paragraph (4)(a) are—

(a)a Minister of the Crown;

(b)a Northern Ireland department;

(c)the Competition Commission;

(d)the Office of Fair Trading;

(e)the Director General of Telecommunications;

(f)the Director General of Water Services;

(g)the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority;

(h)the Water Appeals Commission for Northern Ireland;

(i)the Civil Aviation Authority;

(j)the Financial Services Authority.

(6) The statutory provisions specified for the purposes of paragraph (4)(a) and (h) are—

(a)the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 (c. 29);

(b)the Fair Trading Act 1973 (c. 41);

(c)the Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1973 (NI 2);

(d)the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (c. 39);

(e)the Estate Agents Act 1979 (c. 38);

(f)the Competition Act 1980 (c. 2);

(g)the Telecommunications Act 1984 (c. 12);

(h)the Airports Act 1986 (c. 31);

(i)the Gas Act 1986 (c. 44);

(j)the Audit (Northern Ireland) Order 1987 (NI 5);

(k)the Consumer Protection (Northern Ireland) Order 1987 (NI 20);

(l)the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (c. 43);

(m)the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988 (SI 1988/915);

(n)the Water Act 1989 (c. 15), the Water Industry Act 1991 (c. 56) and any of the other consolidation Acts (within the meaning of section 206 of the Water Industry Act 1991);

(o)the Electricity Act 1989 (c. 29);

(p)Part IV of the Airports (Northern Ireland) Order 1994 (NI 1);

(q)the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 (NI 6);

(r)the Competition Act 1998 (c. 41);

(s)the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (c. 8);

(t)the Utilities Act 2000 (c. 27);

(u)the Enterprise Act 2002 (c. 40).

(7) The Department may by order modify paragraph (3), (4), (5) or (6).

(8) Nothing in paragraph (1) is to be construed either as limiting the matters which may be—

(a)published under Article 45 of the Electricity Order or Article 7, 18, 19, 21, 25 or 27;

(b)made public by the Authority as part of a notice under Article 26; or

(c)included in, or made public as part of, a report of the Authority, the Council or the Competition Commission under any provision of this Order, Part II of the Electricity Order or Part II of the Gas Order,

or as applying to information which has been so published or has been made public as part of such a notice or such a report.

(9) A person who discloses any information in contravention of this Article is guilty of an offence and liable—

(a)on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum;

(b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine or to both.

(10) Information obtained by the Authority in the exercise of functions which are exercisable concurrently with the Office of Fair Trading under Part I of the Competition Act 1998 (c. 41) is subject to Part 9 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (information) and not to paragraphs (1) to (9) of this Article.

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