§ 24. Mr. Litterick
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the comparative costs per unit of energy derived from coal, gas, oil and nuclear sources; 409W and to what extent these differences are reflected in prices charged to the consumer.
§ Dr. John A. Cunningham
Statistics are not available on a comparable basis. In general, prices charged to the consumer reflect the cost of production and distribution of fuels. The best available figures are:
Estimated prices to domestic and industrial consumers converted to pence/therm for each fuel are as follows: Domestic Coal … … 10.9–16.1(2) Gas … … 15.4(3) Electricity(6) … … 60.1(3) Oil … … 23.5(4) Industrial(1) Coal … … 6.4 Gas … … 5.7 Electricity(6) … … 41.8 Oil … … 10.0(5)
(1) Derived from information collected from a panel of about 800 large fuel consumers within manufacturing industry. The figures are averages for the four quarters ended September 1976 and do not fully reflect the prices charged under new contracts.
(2) Range of prices prevailing in December 1976. There is a variation in prices according to geographical location.
(3) Average selling values for four quarters ended September 1976.
(4) Domestic burning oil, January 1977.
(5) Heavy fuel oil.
(6) Nuclear electricity accounted for about 13 percent. of total electricity supply in 1976. The average costs of nuclear generation of CEGB power stations were 19.6p a therm in 1975–76, including interest and depreciation, but excluding distribution.
It should be borne in mind that the costs of fuels depend, among other things, on the location of the consumer, the amounts purchased and the patterns of consumption through time. Comparisons are further complicated by differences in the uses made of the energy contained in the respective fuels—lighting, heating, motive power, etc.—and in the efficiencies at which the fuels can be used, costs of purchasing, installing, maintaining and operating equipment, any storage costs, relative reliability of supply and relative convenience of different fuels for particular uses.