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Energy Act 2004

Section 173: Appeals to the Competition Commission

429.This section sets out on what grounds a permission for an appeal may be granted, and by whom, and gives the Secretary of State powers to designate by order what codes come within the scope of the appeals procedure and what sort of decisions are excluded.

430.Subsection (2) restricts appeals to decisions on modifications to those codes designated by the Secretary of State, which do not match the description of decisions that are excluded by the Secretary of State under subsection (2)(d). It enables the Secretary of State to make an order by negative resolution designating the codes where modification decisions are to be appealable. The Government will consult on the codes to be designated, but its initial view is that the appeals mechanism is to be applicable to modifications to the Transco Network Code for gas, and the Balancing and Settlement Code (“BSC”) and the Connection and Use of System Code (“CUSC”) for electricity.

431.Subsection (3) restricts the right of appeal to people “materially affected” by the decision or bodies representing people so “materially affected”. Those “materially affected” are likely to include but may not be restricted to: parties to the framework agreement applicable to the code which is the subject of the appeal; persons holding licences granted under section 6 of the Electricity Act 1989 (c.29) and sections 7 and 7A of the Gas Act 1986 (c.44) who are obliged by licence condition to comply with the relevant code; Energywatch and other interested groups representing consumer, licensee or other trading party interests. All applicants for appeal will have to meet the “materially affected” test in the circumstances of the particular appeal.

432.Subsections (4) and (5) provide that the Competition Commission may refuse permission to appeal if the appeal is trivial or vexatious or has no reasonable prospect of success.

433.Subsection (6) requires the Secretary of State, when making an order under subsection (2) which designates a code or excludes certain types of decision from the appeals process, to consult with GEMA and other appropriate persons. Subsection (8) provides that such an order is to be subject to the negative resolution procedure. The Government will consult on the terms of the order, but its initial view is that decisions should be excluded which are urgent or where the delay occasioned by an appeal could impact on security of supply or where GEMA’s decision agrees with the recommendation of the panel in the case of the BSC, or with a certain proportion of code participants in the case of the CUSC and the Transco Network Code.

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