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Energy Act 2011

Section 66: Promotion of reductions in carbon emissions: gas transporters and suppliers

153.This section amends section 33BC of the Gas Act 1986 to include additional powers that will enable the Secretary of State to create a framework describing how the Energy Company Obligation must be achieved.

154.Subsection (3) enables the Secretary of State to provide that the administrative and enforcement functions of a new ECO are to be exercised by either GEMA, a body other than GEMA or the Secretary of State. Whilst the default position is for GEMA to be the Administrator for a new ECO, the Secretary of State is given a power by the provision inserted by section 66(3) to provide for another body or the Secretary of State himself to be the Administrator.

155.Subsection (6)(a) inserts new subsections (5)(bb) to (be) and (5)(c) into section 33BC. These new provisions have the effect of allowing a framework to be established within an Order that determines how an energy company may achieve its carbon saving obligation. Specifically, new subsections (5)(bb) and (bc) enable an order to require energy companies to deliver actions only to certain types of property or individual as directed by the Authority. New subsection (bd) allows the Secretary of State to make provision that requires energy companies to consult specified organisations – for example local authorities – as a condition of an action being eligible under the new obligation.

156.New subsection (5)(be) creates a provision designed to protect the integrity of the scheme. Energy companies may be required to meet two targets – a carbon emissions reduction target and a home-heating cost reduction target. The Secretary of State will have the power to prevent companies from counting a specific action against more than one of these two targets and therefore guards against the risk of double-counting.

157.The insertion of new subsection (5)(c) enables the Secretary of State to make provision determining how actions should be regarded as contributing towards the target which is set – for example, how the score for a measure or package of measures may be calculated.

158.Subsection (6)(e) inserts a new subsection (5)(g) which enables the Secretary of State to make provision requiring the Administrator or an alternative specified body to offer services to the obligated companies which, for example, may help them achieve the new obligation. The provision also enables the Administrator to charge a fee to those who take up the offer.

159.Subsection (7) makes further provision in respect of the situation envisaged in new subsection (5)(bc), see paragraph 158. The insertion of a new section (5A) will enable provision to be made authorising the Administrator to require specified persons to provide information to assist it to select individuals, to specify the criteria by which the Administrator should select individuals, to determine, or specify how the Administrator should determine which obligated companies should act in respect of a given individual. New subsection (5A) will also enable provision to be made which enables the Administrator to provide relevant information to an obligated company which will help the energy company to comply with a direction to assist a particular individual. Under new subsection (5A) it will also be able to make provision setting out the circumstances in which a direction may be given and the circumstances in which a direction need not be complied with.

160.Subsection (7) also inserts a new subsection (5B) into section 33BC that allows for the Secretary of State to provide that an action receives a greater score than it would otherwise do where it relates to individuals of a specified description, properties of a specified description, or a combination of those two criteria.

161.Subsection (9) inserts new subsections (7A) and (7B) into section 33BC both of which make provision about enforcement in circumstances where someone other than the Authority is appointed to be the Administrator. Powers are provided to enable a person other than the Authority to effectively enforce the new Energy Company Obligation.

162.Subsection (11) inserts two new subsections into section 33BC: new subsection (9A) allows the Secretary of State to make provision requiring the Administrator to produce guidance material to obligated companies whilst new subsection (9B) provides that the Secretary of State may issue general or specific directions to the Administrator, and that the Administrator should carry out its functions in accordance with any direction.

163.Subsection (12) makes provision reflecting the Scottish devolution settlement in its application to the powers of the Secretary of State under section 33BC of the Gas Act 1986. New subsection (10A) requires the Secretary of State to obtain the consent of Scottish Ministers before making an order which contains provision under section 33BC(2)(b) which will extend to Scotland and which is within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.

164.Subsection (13) inserts a new subsection (12A) which in turn makes provision enabling the negative resolution procedure to apply in respect of amendments of a particular type which are made to an earlier order. (Section 64(15) helps to define the operation of new subsection (12A)). Prior to these amendments all orders under section 33BC were subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

165.Subsection (14) inserts a definition of the ‘home-heating cost reduction target’.

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