§ (1) A district electricity board shall have power to supply electricity within their district subject to the following limitations, that is to say, the board shall not supply electricity—
- (a) in any area which for the time being forms part of the area of supply of any authorised distributors without the consent of those distributors, except to lighting authorities, or to railway, tramway, canal, or in and navigation companies or authorities for the purposes of traction or haulage, or for lighting vehicles and vessels for the huge or traction of which electricity is supplied; or
- (b) in any part of the area of supply of a power company for any purpose for which the company are therein authorised to supply electricity, without the consent of of the company except to the previous owner of a generating station which has been acquired by the district electricity board:
Sir F. HALL
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1, a), to leave out the words "lighting authorities, or to."
The whole of this paragraph allows district boards to compete with authorised undertakers without their consent for the supply to lighting authorities of street lighting and such-like. My hon. Friend, I am sure, will recognise that a large proportion of the income of these authorised undertakings is derived from such things as street lighting. In many places the lamps belong to the authorities themselves. Different classes of machinery are wanted for generating or distributing the electricity for these authorities, and if business of that class is to be taken away from these authorised undertakers and placed in the hands of the district board, I am sure it will be recognised as prejudicial and unjust to those authorised undertakers. They have installed this plant and gone to all this expense on the distinct understanding that until 1942 this business shall be left in their hands. Unfortunately Parliament decided that that was not to be done. At the same time, I am sure that this House is wishful to treat them in a reasonable manner. I hope the Government will accept the Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: In Subsection (1,a) leave out the word "tramway"—[Sir F. Hall.]1555
Sir F. HALL
I bog to move in Sub-section (1,a) after the word "railway," to insert the word "dock."
Docks are not included and I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will be inclined to look favourably on the Amendment.
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
The docks are not in the same position as railways or canals, and where they are in areas of different authorities the difficulty will be met by Departmental procedure under an Electric Lighting Act.
Sir F. HALL
I beg to move, at the end, to insert the words(4) Where in any district a company or person being authorised distributors has no generating station of its own within such district and the generating station supplying such company or person has vested in the district board the district electricity board shall, if so required by such company or person, purchase the undertaking of such company or person within such district upon the terms set forth in Sub-section (4) of the Section of this Act whereof the marginal note is "Transfer of undertakings to boards.I am sure the House will recognise the difficulties of those companies which have no generating stations but which have been in the habit of receiving their current in bulk by power companies and such like under special agreements. When the stations of those undertakers are acquired by the district boards and when the companies hitherto so supplied are exposed to the competition of the district board the conditions may affect them very prejudicially. They have no guarantee that the cost of the supply will not be increased or even that their distributing business will not be diminished. It seems, therefore, only fair that they should have the same option to sell their undertakings to the district boards as is given under Clause 12 (4) to companies which have already sold their stations compulsorily. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will recognise the reasonableness of this proposal.
§ Captain BOWYER
I beg to second the Amendment. By Clause 12, any company which has had its generating station taken under the provisions of Clause 7 has the right to say, "Buy us out, lock, stock, and barrel," on the terms of Clause 12 (4). I submit there should be a similar provision 1556 for a company which has got no generating station, and which receives its electricity in bulk.
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
I do not think the hon. and gallant Gentleman who moved did so with the same degree of assurance as in the case of previous Amendments. which were accepted, and I did not gather from his speech that he really thought he had a strong case. The case he presents is of some company which is now being supplied by a generating station which does not belong to it. That generating station is acquired by the district authority, but the company is enabled to get the same amount of electricity at the same price, if not cheaper than before, and so suffers no kind of damage that I can see from the acquisition of this other generating station by the authority. Yet by this Amendment my hon. Friend claims, that they should have the right, under Clause 12, to force the board to sell their own undertaking, which is in no way prejudiced by the circumstances related in the Amendment. I am afraid I cannot accept it.
Sir F. HALL
I am sure my hon. Friend will recognise the fact that they can only claim at the same price the same quantity of electricity as they generated before.
§ Amendment negatived.