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Utilities Act 2000

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105 General restrictions on disclosure of information.E+W+S

This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

(1)Information which—

(a)has been obtained under or by virtue of the provisions of this Act, Part I of the 1986 Act[F1, Part 1 of the 1989 Act F2...][F3, section 184(5) or 185(5) of the Energy Act 2004 [F4 or Part 2 or section 27 or 28 of the Energy Act 2010] [F5or section 50 or 51 of the Energy Act 2013] or section 41 or 100 of the Energy Act 2008;] 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)Subsection (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)Subsection (1) does not apply to a disclosure if—

(a)it is made for the purpose of facilitating the performance of any functions of the Secretary of State, the Authority, [F6Citizens Advice, Citizens Advice Scotland] or the [F7Competition and Markets Authority] under the 1986 Act, the 1989 Act[F8, section 184 or 185 of the Energy Act 2004] [F9 sections 41 to 43 F10... of the Energy Act 2008][F11, Part 2 or section 28 of the Energy Act 2010][F5, section 50 or 51 of the Energy Act 2013] [F12, the REMIT Regulations] or this Act;

[F13(aa)it is made for the purpose of facilitating any functions of any person under section 100 of the Energy Act 2008;]

[F14(ab) it is required by a notice under section 103B of this Act or is permitted by subsection (6) of that section;]

(b)it is required by a notice under section 38(1A) of the 1986 Act or section 28(2A) of the 1989 Act;

(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 relevant activities.

(4)Subsection (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 subsection (5) of any function under an Act or instrument specified in subsection (6);

(b)for the purpose of facilitating the performance by the Comptroller and Auditor General, F15...the Health and Safety Executive of any of his or its functions;

[F16(ba)for the purpose of facilitating the performance by the Office for Nuclear Regulation of any of its functions;]

(c)for the purpose of facilitating the exercise by the Secretary of State of any power conferred F17. . . by the enactments relating to companies F17. . . or insolvency;

(d)for the purpose of facilitating the performance of the functions of an inspector appointed under the enactments relating to companies;

[F18(da)for the purpose of facilitating the performance by the Secretary of State, the Treasury [F19, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Prudential Regulation Authority or the Bank of England ] of any functions under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 [F20or the Consumer Credit Act 1974];

(db)for the purpose of facilitating the discharge of any function by a person appointed under—

(i) section 97 of the financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (investigations into a breach of listing rules etc. ),

(ii)section 167 of that Act (general investigations), or

(iii)section 168 of that Act (investigations in particular cases);]

(e)for the purpose of facilitating the performance by an official receiver of his functions under the enactments relating to insolvency or by a recognised professional body for the purposes of section 391 of the M1Insolvency Act 1986 of its functions as such a body;

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

(g)for the purposes of any civil proceedings brought under or by virtue of the 1986 Act, the 1989 Act, this Act or any Act or instrument specified in subsection (6);

[F21(ga)in connection with the investigation of any failure to comply with a REMIT requirement or for the purposes of any proceedings brought under or by virtue of REMIT;] or

(h)in pursuance of a Community obligation.

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

(a)a Minister of the Crown;

(b)the [F22Competition and Markets Authority];

F23(c). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[F24(d)the Office of Communications;]

[F25(e)the Water Services Regulation Authority;]

[F26(f)the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation;]

(h)[F27the Office of Rail and Road] ;

(i)the Civil Aviation Authority;

F28(j). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(k)the Coal Authority; F29...

(l)a local weights and measures authority in Great Britain [F30, F31...

[F32(m)   Citizens Advice, and

(n)Citizens Advice Scotland.]]

F33(6)The Acts and instruments specified for the purposes of subsection (4)(a) and (g) are—

(a)the M2Trade Descriptions Act 1968;

(b)the M3Fair Trading Act 1973;

(c)the M4Consumer Credit Act 1974;

(d)the M5Estate Agents Act 1979;

(e)the M6Competition Act 1980;

(f)the M7National Audit Act 1983;

(g)the M8Telecommunications Act 1984;

(h)the M9Airports Act 1986;

(i)the M10Insolvency Act 1986;

(j)the M11Consumer Protection Act 1987;

F34(k). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(l)the M12Water Act 1989, the M13Water Industry Act 1991 or any of the other consolidation Acts (within the meaning of section 206 of the Water Industry Act 1991) [F35or the Water Act 2003] [F36 or the Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006] [F37or the Water Act 2014] ;

(m)the M14Electricity (Northern Ireland) Order 1992;

(n)the M15Railways Act 1993;

(o)the M16Coal Industry Act 1994;

(p)the M17Gas (Northern Ireland) Order 1996;

(q)the M18Competition Act 1998.

[F38(r)Part I of the Transport Act 2000.]

[F39(s)the Enterprise Act 2002]

[F33(t)the Communications Act 2003.]

[F40(u)the Railways Act 2005.]

[F41(v)the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008;

(w)the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.]

[F42(x)the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007.]

[F43(x)Part 1 of the Civil Aviation Act 2012]

[F44(y)the Electricity and Gas (Market Integrity and Transparency) (Enforcement etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013.]

[F45(y)Parts 3 and 4 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013;]

[F46(6A)If the Authority is making a decision whether to disclose information to another national regulatory authority under subsection (4)(ga), the Authority must have regard in particular to whether there are arrangements in place for the provision of mutual assistance in relation to the disclosure of information.]

(7)The Secretary of State may by order modify subsection (3), (4), (5) or (6).

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

(a)published under section F47... 35 of the 1986 Act or section [F48 32J or]F47... 48 of the 1989 Act;

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

(c)included in, or made public as part of, a report of the Authority F49... or the [F50Competition and Markets Authority] under any provision of this Act, Part I of the 1986 Act or Part I of the 1989 Act;

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 section 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)In this section—

  • licence holder” means the holder of a gas licence or an electricity licence; and

  • [F51“national regulatory authority” has the same meaning as in REMIT;]

  • relevant activities”, in relation to a licence holder, means activities he is authorised by his licence to carry on (including, in the case of a gas transporter, the activities mentioned in section 7(1)(b) and (c) of the 1986 Act).

  • [F52REMIT” means Regulation (EU) No 1227/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on wholesale energy market integrity and transparency;

  • “the REMIT Regulations” means the Electricity and Gas (Market Integrity and Transparency) (Enforcement etc.) Regulations 2013;

  • REMIT requirement” has the same meaning as in the REMIT Regulations [F53;]] [F54and

  • the reference to the Bank of England does not include the Bank acting in its capacity as the Prudential Regulation Authority.]

(11)Information obtained by the Authority in the exercise of functions which are exercisable concurrently with [F55the Competition and Markets Authority] under Part I of the M19Competition Act 1998 is subject to [F56Part 9 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (Information)] and not to subsections (1) to (10) of this section.

[F57(11A)Nothing in this section applies to information within section 29(3) of the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 (application of disclosure regime in Part 9 of the Enterprise Act 2002 to information obtained by [F58Citizens Advice or Citizens Advice Scotland]).]

[F59(11B)Nothing in this section applies to information to which section 105A applies.]

(12)The power to make an order under subsection (7) is exercisable by statutory instrument which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

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Amendments (Textual)

F1Words in s. 105(1)(a) substituted (5.10.2004) by Energy Act 2004 (c. 20), ss. 186(a), 198(2); S.I. 2004/2575, art. 2(1), Sch. 1

F2Words in s. 105(1)(a) omitted (26.1.2009) by virtue of Energy Act 2008 (c. 32), s. 110(2), Sch. 5 para. 15(a); S.I. 2009/45, art. 2(e)(iv)

F3Words in s. 105(1)(a) inserted (26.1.2009) by Energy Act 2008 (c. 32), s. 110(2), Sch. 5 para. 15(a); S.I. 2009/45, art. 2(e)(iv)

F4Words in s. 105(1) inserted (8.6.2010) by Energy Act 2010 (c. 27), s. 38(3), Sch. para. 16(a)

F5Words in s. 105(1)(a)(3)(a) inserted (18.2.2014) by Energy Act 2013 (c. 32), ss. 52, 156(2)

F8Words in s. 105(3)(a) inserted (5.10.2004) by Energy Act 2004 (c. 20), ss. 186(b), 198(2); S.I. 2004/2575, art. 2(1), Sch. 1

F9Words in s. 105(3)(a) inserted (26.1.2009) by Energy Act 2008 (c. 32), s. 110(2), Sch. 5 para. 15(b); S.I. 2009/45, art. 2(e)(iv)

F10Words in s. 105(3)(a) omitted (12.2.2015) by virtue of Infrastructure Act 2015 (c. 7), ss. 51(9)(a), 57(7)(d)

F11Words in s. 105(3)(a) inserted (8.6.2010) by Energy Act 2010 (c. 27), s. 38(3), Sch. para. 16(b)

F13S. 105(3)(aa) inserted (12.2.2015) by Infrastructure Act 2015 (c. 7), ss. 51(9)(b), 57(7)(d)

F14S. 105(3)(ab) inserted (18.12.2011) by Energy Act 2011 (c. 16), s. 121(5)(a), Sch. 1 para. 9

F17Words in s. 105(4)(c) omitted (3.7.2002) by virtue of S.I. 2002/1555, art. 27(a)

F18S. 105(4)(da)(db) inserted (3.7.2002) by S.I. 2002/1555, art. 27(b)

F19Words in s. 105(4)(da) substituted (1.4.2013) by Financial Services Act 2012 (c. 21), s. 122(3), Sch. 18 para. 89 (with Sch. 20); S.I. 2013/423, art. 3, Sch.

F20Words in s. 105(4)(da) inserted (26.7.2013 for specified purposes, 1.4.2014 in so far as not already in force) by The Financial Services Act 2012 (Consumer Credit) Order 2013 (S.I. 2013/1882), arts. 1(1), 10(3)

F24S. 105(5)(d) substituted (25.7.2003 for specified purposes, 29.12.2003 in so far as not already in force) by Communications Act 2003 (c. 21), s. 411(2), Sch. 17 para. 163(2) (with Sch. 18); S.I. 2003/1900, arts. 1(2), 2(1), Sch. 1 (with art. 3) (as amended by S.I. 2003/3142, art. 1(3)); S.I. 2003/3142, arts. 3(2), 11

F28S. 105(5)(j) omitted (1.10.2015) by virtue of Deregulation Act 2015 (c. 20), s. 115(7), Sch. 6 para. 22(11); S.I. 2015/1732, art. 2(e)(vi) (with art. 7)

F33S. 105(6)(t) inserted (25.7.2003 for specified purposes, 29.12.2003 in so far as not already in force) by Communications Act 2003 (c. 21), s. 411(2), Sch. 17 para. 163(3) (with Sch. 18); S.I. 2003/1900, arts. 1(2), 2(1), Sch. 1 (with art. 3) (as amended by S.I. 2003/3142, art. 1(3)); S.I. 2003/3142, arts. 3(2), 11

F35Words in s. 105(6)(l) inserted (1.4.2004) by Water Act 2003 (c. 37), s. 105(3), Sch. 7 para. 34(b); S.I. 2004/641, art. 3(y), Sch. 2 (with Sch. 3 para. 7)

F38S. 105(6)(r) inserted (21.12.2001) by S.I. 2001/4050, art. 2, Sch. Pt. IV para. 25

F39S. 105(6)(s) inserted (1.4.2003) by Enterprise Act 2002 (c. 40), s. 279, Sch. 25 para. 43(3)(b); S.I. 2003/766, art. 2, Sch. (with art. 3) (as amended (20.7.2007) by S.I. 2007/1846, reg. 3(2), Sch.)

F48Words in s. 105(8)(a) inserted (1.4.2009) by Energy Act 2008 (c. 32), s. 110(2), Sch. 5 para. 15(c); S.I. 2009/45, art. 3(c)(i)

F56Words in s. 105(11) substituted (20.6.2003) by Enterprise Act 2002 (c. 40), s. 279, Sch. 25 para. 43(3)(c)(ii); S.I. 2003/1397, art. 2(1), Sch. (with art. 8)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C2S. 105(1) excluded (24.8.2004) by Energy Act 2004 (c. 20), ss. 140(4), 198(2); S.I. 2004/2184, art. 2(1), Sch. 1

C3S. 105(1) excluded (18.12.2013) by Energy Act 2013 (c. 32), ss. 33(3), 156(3)

C4S. 105(1) restricted (18.12.2013) by Energy Act 2013 (c. 32), s. 156(3), Sch. 2 para. 10(4)(a)

C5S. 105(4): disclosure powers extended (14.12.2001) by 2001 c. 24, ss. 17, 127(2)(a), Sch. 4 Pt. 1 para. 52

Commencement Information

I1S. 105(1)-(7)(8)(a)(c)(9)-(12) in force at 7.11.2000 by S.I. 2000/2974, art. 2, Sch.(subject to transitional provisions in arts. 3-12); s. 105(8)(b) in force at 20.12.2000 by S.I. 2000/3343, art. 2, Sch.(subject to transitional provisions in arts. 3-15)

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