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24 Feb 2003

UNISON welcomes white paper but attacks competition in energy markets

UNISON Scotland, the major trade union in the Scottish energy industry, today welcomed the publication of the long awaited Energy White Paper. However the union criticised the competition market for energy as a 'shambles'.

UNISON Scotland has been critical of unrealistic targets for the generation of electricity from renewable sources. They fear that if the largely unproven technology does not deliver viable electricity, then the UK will be at the mercy of insecure imported gas supplies.

UNISON Scottish Organiser for Utilities Dave Watson said: "We want to see a balanced generation policy to ensure security of supply and to support a key Scottish industry. In addition to investing in renewables, the government should support clean coal technologies at Longannet and Cockenzie and keep the option of replacing Hunterston open."

UNISON remains highly critical of the government's support for liberalised energy markets. The current competitive market is a shambles with thousands of confused customers and companies closing down plant and investment.

Dave Watson said: "The time has come to bring some sanity back to Scotland's energy industry. We need a planned energy policy that provides safe, secure, viable and sustainable generation which contributes to the economic future of Scotland and eliminates fuel poverty."

ENDS

[NB Note for the editor: UNISON has published its own 'Scottish Energy Strategy' which is available on their web site at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/energystrategy.html ]

For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser Utilities) 0845 355 0845(w) 07787 558 410(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)

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