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The Energy (Northern Ireland) Order 2003

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6.—(1) In making a report on a reference under paragraph 3, the Competition Commission shall include in the report definite conclusions on whether the fact that the activities specified in the reference (or the reference as varied) are not licensable activities operates, or may be expected to operate, against the public interest.

(2) The Commission shall also include in the report such an account of its reasons for those conclusions as in its opinion is expedient for facilitating proper understanding of the questions raised by the reference and of its conclusions.

(3) Where the Commission concludes that the fact that particular activities are not licensable activities operates, or may be expected to operate, against the public interest, it shall specify in the report—

(a)the effects adverse to the public interest which that fact has or may be expected to have; and

(b)any modifications to the conditions specified in the reference in accordance with paragraph 3(3)(a) which it considers appropriate.

(4) For the purposes of paragraph 2(6), a conclusion contained in a report of the Commission is to be disregarded if the conclusion is not that of at least two-thirds of the members of the group constituted in connection with the reference concerned in pursuance of paragraph 15 of Schedule 7 to the Competition Act 1998.

(5) If a member of a group so constituted disagrees with any conclusions contained in a report made on a reference under paragraph 3 as the conclusions of the Commission, the report shall, if the member so wishes, include a statement of his disagreement and of his reasons for disagreeing.

(6) For the purposes of the law relating to defamation, absolute privilege attaches to any report made by the Commission on a reference under paragraph 3.

(7) In making any report on a reference under paragraph 3 the Commission must have regard to the following considerations before disclosing any information.

(8) The first consideration is the need to exclude from disclosure (so far as practicable) any information whose disclosure the Commission thinks is contrary to the public interest.

(9) The second consideration is the need to exclude from disclosure (so far as practicable)—

(a)commercial information whose disclosure the Commission thinks might significantly harm the legitimate business interests of the undertaking to which it relates, or

(b)information relating to the private affairs of an individual whose disclosure the Commission thinks might significantly harm the individual’s interests.

(10) The third consideration is the extent to which the disclosure of the information mentioned in sub-paragraph (9)(a) or (b) is necessary for the purposes of the report.

(11) A report of the Commission on a reference under paragraph 3 shall be made to the Authority.

(12) On receiving the report, the Authority shall send a copy of it to the Department.

(13) Subject to sub-paragraph (14), the Authority shall, not less than 14 days after the copy is received by the Department, send another copy to the Council and publish that other copy in such manner as the Authority considers appropriate for bringing the report to the attention of persons likely to be affected by it.

(14) If it appears to the Department that the publication of any matter in the report would be against the public interest or the commercial interests of any person, it may, before the end of the period of 14 days mentioned in sub-paragraph (13), direct the Authority to exclude that matter from the copy of the report to be sent to the Council and published under that sub-paragraph.

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