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Energy Act 2008

Summary and Background

511.This element of the Act transfers certain statutory functions relating to gas and electricity meters from the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (the Authority) to the Secretary of State. These are legal metrology functions: they relate to the legal mechanisms for ensuring the accuracy of meters. The intention is that these functions will in future be performed by the National Weights and Measures Laboratory, an executive agency of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

512.Administrative responsibility for the technical metering functions and staff was transferred by a Memorandum of Understanding between the Authority and the NWML in 2006. The effect of the sections in this part of the Act is to complete the process of transferring these functions, by putting the existing administrative arrangements on a statutory footing.

513.The Authority regulates the gas and electricity markets in Great Britain. It is currently responsible for, amongst other things, gas and electricity meter approvals, certification (electricity) and stamping (gas) of new meters, the appointment of meter examiners and disputed meter accuracy testing.

514.The National Weights and Measures Laboratory (NWML) has a remit to ensure UK measurement is accurate, fair and legal. Acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, NWML currently has similar responsibilities to those which the Authority has in respect of gas and electricity meters for other measuring instruments, such as weighing machines, fuel pumps and water meters.

515.The Authority recovers the costs of performing its metrological functions through a licensing fee charged to network operators. The costs of performing these functions accounts for only a small part (under 2%) of the costs recovered in this way. It is proposed that when the Act transfers these functions to the Secretary of State, the costs incurred by the NWML in performing these functions should continue to be recovered as part of the licensing fee paid by network operators. An amendment to the relevant network operators’ licence conditions is therefore required in order to allow the Authority to pass the recovered funds to the NWML.

516.On completion of the transfer, the NWML will have responsibility for the standards and accuracy of gas and electricity meters. However, the Authority will retain its current responsibilities for smart and pre-payment metering policy will remain with the Authority, since they relate to the regulation and strategy for where, when and how these types of meter are used. The NWML will cover whether these types of meter measure accurately.

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