HC Deb 03 July 1916 vol 83 cc1219-20
4. Sir F. LOWE

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the fact that the Government are appealing to everyone to economise during the War, and that one of the objects of the Summer Time Act was to assist them in doing so, he will introduce legislation limiting the charges of electric lighting companies and local authorities in proportion to the saving of expenditure which they are able to effect during the operation of this Act?


As I indicated in the reply I gave to my hon. Friend on the 26th June, the chief object of the Summer Time Act was to effect economy in the use of coal by public utility bodies. I am not prepared to introduce legislation in the direction suggested, as any reduction in the charges for electricity might encourage consumers to increase their consumption, and this would involve a corresponding increase in the use of coal by the supplying authorities. Further, the saving to the undertaking on the cost of the fuel economised is probably more than outweighed by the loss of revenue, owing to the reduction in the amount of current supplied.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the opinion is very generally held that the action of these electric lighting bodies is not only bad form but very unpatriotic, and ought not to be encouraged by the Board of Trade?


I do not think I ought to express an opinion upon that point.