§ MR. HARRIS (Tynemouth)
To ask the Postmaster-General whether the Post Office are proposing to provide, at Black-friars or elsewhere, a station for generating electric energy, and if so, would he state for what purposes the energy is required; whether he has invited, or will invite, tenders for the supply of the energy required from the companies already authorised under statutory powers to supply electric energy in the district or districts in which energy is proposed to be used; whether it is proposed to break up the streets for the purpose of laying mains for conveying the energy to be generated at the proposed station, and if so, under what powers; and whether, if those companies will supply energy at a less cost per unit than that at which the electricity can be generated at the proposed station he will take the energy from the companies.
(Answered by Mr. Austen Chamberlain.) The post office is proposing to provide at Black-friars a station for generating electric energy for the purpose of working the telegraphic system of the 782 Department. The wires conveying the current will be placed in ducts laid underground in the usual manner under the powers conferred by the Telegraph Acts. Offers to supply current have been received from two companies, and are now under consideration; but it does not appear likely that the cost will be as low as that at which the Department could provide its own supply; and, apart from the question of price, there are other objections to depending upon an outside supply.