Energy Act 1976

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1976 c. 76


Energy Act 1976

1976 CHAPTER 76

An Act to make further provision with respect to the nation's resources and use of energy.

[22nd November 1976]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Permanent and reserve powers for energy conservation and control

Permanent and reserve powers for energy conservation and control

S-1 General control by order.

1 General control by order.

(1) The Secretary of State may by order provide for regulating or prohibiting the production, supply, acquisition or use of—

(a ) any of the following substances, namely—

(i) crude liquid petroleum, natural gas and petroleum products;

(ii) any substance, whether solid, liquid or gaseous, not falling within sub-paragraph (i) above but used as fuel, whether for the propulsion of vehicles or for any other purposes;

(b ) electricity.

(2) Orders under subsection (1) above regulating or prohibiting the use of any of the substances mentioned in the subsection, or of electricity, may be made at any time but only where it appears to the Secretary of State to be desirable for the purpose of conserving energy.

Subject to this, orders under the subsection may be made only when an Order in Council under section 3 of this Act is in force.

(3) When no Order in Council under section 3 is in force the Secretary of State shall before making an order under subsection (1) consult with organisations in the United Kingdom appearing to him to represent those who will be affected by the order, including both consumers and suppliers of energy, and such other organisations as he thinks appropriate.

(4) The Secretary of State may by order provide for regulating the price at which crude liquid petroleum, natural gas or petroleum products may be supplied.

This power is exercisable at any time in the case of petroleum products, but otherwise is exercisable only when an Order in Council under section 3 is in force.

S-2 Reserve power to control by government directions.

2 Reserve power to control by government directions.

(1) When an Order in Council under section 3 of this Act is in force the Secretary of State may give directions—

(a ) to any person carrying on an undertaking in the course of which he produces any substance mentioned in section 1(1) above, as to the production and use of that substance;

(b ) to any person carrying on an undertaking in the course of which he supplies any such substance, as to the supply by him of that substance; and

(c ) to any person carrying on an undertaking which involves the use of any such substance, as to the use by him of that substance for the purposes of the undertaking.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) above—

(a ) a direction under subsection (1)(a ) may prohibit or restrict the use of any material for the production of a substance mentioned in section 1(1) and may extend to the disposal of stocks of such a substance or of any such material;

(b ) a direction under subsection (1)(b ) may—

(i) prohibit or restrict the supply (anywhere in the world) of any such substance to specified persons, and

(ii)require the supply (anywhere in the world) of any such substance to specified persons in accordance with specified requirements, including, in the case of crude liquid petroleum, natural gas or petroleum products, requirements as to price; and

(c ) a direction under subsection (1)(c ) may prohibit or restrict the use of any substance mentioned in section 1(1) for specified purposes or during specified periods.

(3) In this section ‘specified’ means specified by the Secretary of State's directions.

(4) This section (except subsection (2)(b )(ii) so far as it relates to requirements as to price) applies in relation to electricity as it applies in relation to the substances mentioned in section 1(1).

S-3 Implementation of reserve powers.

3 Implementation of reserve powers.

(1) Her Majesty may by Order in Council declare the powers of sections 1 and 2 above exercisable to their fullest extent because either—

(a ) they are required for the implementation of obligations incumbent on the United Kingdom as a member of the European Communities or the International Energy Agency or a party to the International Energy Agreement to take emergency measures in connection with the reduction, or threatened reduction, of fuel supplies; or

(b ) there exists or is imminent in the United Kingdom an actual or threatened emergency affecting fuel or electricity supplies which makes it necessary in Her Majesty's opinion that the government should temporarily have at its disposal exceptional powers for controlling the sources and availability of energy;

and any such Order shall be laid before Parliament after it is made.

(2) An Order in Council under subsection (1) above, if made by virtue of paragraph (b ) of the subsection, shall cease to be in force on the expiration of the period of 28 days beginning on the date on which it was made, unless before the end of that period it is approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.

In reckoning that period no account is to be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued, or during which the House of Commons is adjourned for more than 4 days.

(3) An Order in Council under subsection (1) may in any case be revoked by a subsequent Order in Council declaring Her Majesty's opinion that the circumstances which led to the making of the earlier Order no longer obtain.

(4) Without prejudice to subsections (2) and (3) above, an Order made by virtue of subsection (1)(b ) shall cease to be in force at the end of the 12 months beginning with the date on which it was made, unless before then both Houses of Parliament have resolved that it be continued for a further period of 12 months.

(5) An Order may be continued in force under subsection (4) more than once; and on each occasion after the first that subsection applies with the substitution for the period of 12 months there specified of a period of 12 months beginning with the date on which, but for the resolutions of Parliament, the Order would have ceased to be in force.

S-4 Other powers.

4 Other powers.

(1) A person supplying or using a substance mentioned in section 1(1) above may, if authorised to do so by the Secretary of State by any general or special authority granted for the purpose, and while acting in accordance with that authority, disregard or fall short in discharging any obligation imposed by or under an enactment, or any contractual obligation, relating to or involving the supply or use of that substance.

This subsection has effect only at a time when there is in force an Order in Council under section 3(1).

(2) At any time when such an Order in Council is in force, the Secretary of State may grant, or enable any person to grant on his behalf, a general or special authority for the doing, during the whole or any part of the period for which the Order remains in force, of all or any of the things mentioned in Schedule 1 to this Act (relaxations of road traffic and transport law).

(3) Her Majesty may by Order in Council make provision for modifying or excluding any obligation or restriction imposed, or extending any power conferred, by or under an enactment which directly or indirectly affects the use of a substance mentioned in section 1(1).

(4) While an Order in Council is in force under section 3(1)—

(a ) subsection (3) above has effect as if for ‘affects the use’ there were substituted ‘affects the supply or use’; and

(b ) without prejudice to the generality of the subsection, the powers under it extend to making such provision for modifying an order under section 2 of the Counter-Inflation Act 1973 as appears to Her Majesty to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of price controls under this Act.

(5) This section applies in relation to electricity as it applies in relation to substances mentioned in section 1(1).

S-5 Temporary relief from restrictive practices law.

5 Temporary relief from restrictive practices law.

(1) The Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 does not apply to an agreement satisfying the following conditions, namely—

(a ) it is in writing and made between two or more persons carrying on business in the production or supply of petroleum and—

(i) is made by them with the Secretary of State and each other, and

(ii) contains a power for the Secretary of State to terminate it on the ground that its continuance is no longer expedient in the national interest;

(b ) no such restrictions are accepted under it as would (apart from this subsection) make it subject to registration under the 1976 Act, other than restrictions—

(i)in respect of the matters mentioned in section 6(1)(a ) to (c ) of the Act (regulation...

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