Other supplementary provisions
Section 50 and Schedule 4: Information
235.This section introduces Schedule 4 to the Act, which contains powers to enable the collection of information for the purpose of developing a trading scheme. Schedule 4 allows the national authorities and certain agencies to require, by notice, electricity suppliers and potential participants in a trading scheme to provide information required for the establishment of the scheme.
236.Subsection (2) is a “sunset” provision. It provides that the information-gathering (but not the information-sharing) powers in Schedule 4 will cease to have effect on 1st January 2011, the date by which it is anticipated that they will no longer be required.
Schedule 4: Trading schemes: powers to require information
237.Schedule 4 contains powers that could be contained in regulations made under Part 3 of the Act. The intention behind providing these specific powers on the face of the Act is to allow information to be gathered for the establishment of the Carbon Reduction Commitment, a new trading scheme, within a relatively short time-scale.
238.Schedule 4 makes provision about who is able to exercise the information gathering powers; these are the national authorities, the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, collectively referred to as the “environmental authorities” (paragraph 1).
239.It provides that the environmental authorities can seek information, for the purposes of enabling a trading scheme to be established, from electricity suppliers and distributors (paragraph 2) and from the potential participants in a trading scheme (paragraph 3). The information that may be collected includes, among other things, information about contact details, electricity meters, levels of electricity consumption and any climate change agreements (within the meaning of Schedule 6 to the Finance Act 2000 (c.17)) that have been entered into.
240.If an environmental authority requests information (in writing) from a person under this Schedule, and the person does not comply with the request within 28 days, the authority may issue a formal notice requesting the information. Paragraph 4 sets out the requirements relating to such formal notices. A person who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with a notice, or who provides false or misleading information (either knowingly, or suspecting that it is false or misleading) is guilty of a summary offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (currently £5000). (paragraph 5).
241.Paragraph 6 allows information collected using the powers in Schedule 4 to be shared with the other environmental authorities or with the administrator of the trading scheme. This is the only paragraph in the Schedule which is not subject to the sunset provision in section 50(2).
Section 51: Powers to give guidance
242.This section gives the relevant national authority (see section 47) the power to give guidance to an administrator of a trading scheme about how to carry out its functions. The administrator is required to have regard to guidance issued to it.
Section 52: Powers to give directions
243.This section gives the relevant national authority (see section 47) the power to give general or specific directions to an administrator of a trading scheme. The administrator must comply with directions given under this section.
Section 53: Grants to administrators and participants
244.This section enables the relevant national authority (see section 47) to make grants to participants of trading schemes and impose conditions when giving a grant.
Section 54: Power to make consequential provision
245.This section gives the relevant national authority (see section 47) the power to make regulations amending, repealing or revoking primary or secondary legislation as a consequence of regulations made under this Part of the Act, and to make any transitional and saving provisions in connection with such amendments, repeals and revocations.