§ MR. RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN (Islington, W.)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the long continued default of the Chelsea Electric Supply Company to furnish the statutory currents of 100 volts, and to the serious loss of illuminating power sustained by consumers in consequence; whether the Board of Trade have allowed this company 748 a margin of four volts either way, and that the latter have taken advantage of this concession to give an average during lighting hours of 97 volts instead of the 100, to which consumers are entitled; whether complaints of this default were made to the Board 12 months ago, and assurance then made by the company of immediate amendment; and whether he will take steps to compel this company to keep faith with the public or to forfeit their concession?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Sir M. HICKS BEACH, Bristol, W.)
Last winter the hon. Member complained to the Board of Trade of the deficiency in the standard pressure of the current supplied by this company. The Board of Trade communicated with the company, and were informed that the cause of complaint had been removed. Under the regulations imposed upon the company under their order, they are bound to declare to the consumer the constant pressure at which they propose to supply him with energy, and the variation from the pressure so declared must not exceed 4 per cent. under a penalty not exceeding £5 for each default, and a daily penalty not exceeding £5 so long as the default continues. If the regulations are not complied with, it is open to the consumer to proceed against the company for penalties.
§ MR. R. CHAMBERLAIN
May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman's attention has been called to the fact that the variation mentioned has been taken advantage of in order to supply the consumers not with an average of 100 volts, but of 97, in that way taking advantage of the concession of the Board of Trade?
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
However that may be, if the company are in default the consumers have their remedy. It is not for the Board of Trade to enforce the law.
§ MR. R. CHAMBERLAIN
I understand from the right hon. Gentleman that we have no remedy unless they get below 96—the 4 per cent. referred to in the answer just given?