HC Deb 23 July 1930 vol 241 cc2132-5
31 and 32. Mr. EDE

asked the Minister of Transport (1) in how many parishes a joint electricity authority has exercised its power under Section 12 (1) of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1919, to supply electricity and the approximate number of population of such parishes;

(2) how many parishes there are in respect of which the Electricity Commissioners have, under Section 12 (1) (iii) of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1919, exercised their powers to impose on a joint electricity authority an obligation to supply electricity, and the estimated population of such parishes?


Of the four joint authoritiee which have been created under the 1919 Act only three have powers of the nature referred to. The position in the London district, of which my hon. Friend is aware, is that only two parishes are outside the areas of authorised distributers. The West Midlands authority have submitted to the Electricity Commissioners proposals for furnishing supplies in an area of approximately 109 square miles with a population of 67,000 inhabitants, containing 62 parishes, including five urban districts. These proposals have been approved in principle and the draft Order is under discussion with the Joint Authority. The North-West Midlands Joint Authority, which was only constituted last year, is under a similar obligation to submit proposals to the Commissioners. They have already submitted a scheme for supplying in two parishes and further proposals are, I understand, in active preparation.

33. Mr. EDE

asked the Minister of Transport how many Orders he has made since taking office giving local authorities power to supply electricity in areas not previously supplied, and the approximate number of the population concerned; and will he give similar figures for Orders giving companies power to supply?


I have confirmed 22 Orders made by the Electricity Commissioners giving local authorities power to supply electricity in areas not previously supplied, the approximate population concerned being 207,000. With regard to companies, I have confirmed 29 such Orders, the approximate population concerned being 423,000. Perhaps I should add that in the case of one only of the company applications was there competition with a local authority application as regards any part of the proposed area of supply; and in this case the parties came to an agreement and adjusted their applications to obviate overlapping.


Is it possible to know how many of those Orders apply to Wales?


Perhaps my hon. Friend will put down a question, when I will obtain the information.


asked the Minister of Transport if he has completed his investigations into the charges for electricity in Bermondsey; and, if so, will he state the result of those investigations?


I have looked further into this matter and have no reason to doubt that the borough council are fully seized of the desirability of offering supplies to large power consumers at as low a rate as the circumstances of the undertaking justify. I understand that the borough council have under consideration the question whether any reduction in their present charges can be made.


Has the hon. Gentleman any reason to believe that the charges which have already been made have been excessive in connection with Bermondsey?


No, Sir, that would hardly be consistent with the answer which I have given to the hon. Gentleman.


asked the Minister of Transport whether his recent decision concerning the maximum prices to be charged for electricity by the Chiswick Electricity Supply Corporation was based upon the inferiority of the electrical development in this area to that in similar areas with municipal supplies?


My decision to reduce the maximum charges for electricity supplied by the Chiswick Electricity Supply Company was given on the merits of the case itself, after a public inquiry. I formed the opinion that the high prices previously charged by the company were not justified in view of the circumstances of the undertaking, including their financial position. I do not doubt in general that the maintenance of high prices militates against development, and it was given in evidence at the inquiry that the consumption in this area was only 77 units per head of population as against an average of 170 units for local authority undertakings in the London and Home Counties district.


If I bring to the Minister's knowledge other cases of companies charging very highly, will he also use the same power that he possesses to get them reduced?


If in accordance with the provisions of the Act the local authority in the area of an electricity supply company make an application, or if a sufficient number of consumers, which is not very large, makes an application, we shall then, if there is a prima facie case, be pleased to make an inquiry.


Then my business is to stimulate the local authorities.

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