HC Deb 29 July 1879 vol 248 cc1527-8

asked the Chairman of Ways and Means, Whether, in any Private Bills passed this Session, the monopoly and powers of any gas companies in regard to gas have been extended to electric lighting, so as to give gas companies, in case of their undertaking being purchased by any public body, a claim to be paid for any such extra privilege or monopoly; and, whether he will Report to the House, before any such extension of monopoly rights are allowed in any Private Bill, whether opposed in Committee or otherwise.


in reply, said, that the Question was one of some importance with regard to the various measures which had been introduced in the House during the present Session by various public bodies, with the view of obtaining powers to use the electric light. As many as 35 such Bills had been introduced altogether during the present Session. It would be in the recollection of the House that a Select Committee was appointed to consider the question of lighting by electricity, and he stipulated with the promoters that in the event of their Bills being allowed to go forward all the clauses which related to electric lighting should be struck out; but that if the Committee reported in favour of such powers being given to the promoters of such undertakings, clauses to that effect should be introduced at a subsequent stage. The Committee having reported adversely to the extension of such powers to gas companies, those companies were not allowed to insert clauses relating to the electric light in any of the Bills promoted by them; but it had been open to corporations to adopt such clauses as might be found to correspond with the recommendations of the Committee, and in three or four cases they had done so. In no case, however, was power given to a gas company to make use of the electric light. With regard to the second part of the Question, he did not think it would be in accordance with precedent to make a formal Report to the House of the cases in which the extension was proposed; but, if he should continue to hold his present Office, he would not fail to mention the matter to the House if any such Bill came on for second reading.