HC Deb 04 March 1931 vol 249 cc386-8

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will take steps to equalise the prices charged for electricity as between districts of similar character and population in the London and outer London areas?


The question whether the charges made by particular undertakings could be equalised or not must depend on the circumstances of the undertakings and the areas. It is open to local authorities or consumers to apply for a revision of maximum prices if they consider that having regard to all the circumstances the charges in their area are not reasonable.


Has the Minister of Transport received representations for any revision in this respect, and, if so, is he giving them his sympathetic consideration?


I can only answer the hon. Member's question if he names a particular undertaking. If I received responsible representations from the proper quarter, I should give them sympathetic consideration.


If the right hon. Gentleman has to equalise the prices, will he equalise downwards and not upwards?


Is it not a fact that the Act of 1926 determines what shall be charged in any district, and that the Minister of Transport has no power whatever in that respect


No, Sir, there are certain Sections of the Act of 1926 under which inquiries can be undertaken, but ordinarily these inquiries take place under other Sections.


Is the Minister not aware that, under the Act of 1926, the only basis on which a reduction can take place is altogether apart from the Minister of Transport, and under the direct control of the Board?


I am certainly not aware of that, and I have reduced prices on my own responsibility after inquiry.


That was only outside the Act of 1926.

45. Major GLYN

asked the Minister of Transport what is the value of work now under construction to the order of the Electricity Commissioners in connection with the grid scheme; and what pro- portion of this order is represented by the manufacture of cable and how much by steel pylons?


I understand that the contracts placed by the Central Electricity Board to date amount to about £18,250,000. This figure is made up of about £3,750,000 for underground cables; £6,250,000 for towers and overhead lines and £8,250,000 for transformers and other equipment.

46. Major GLYN

asked the Minister of Transport how far the authorised undertakings under the Electricity Act are up to date with the development of electrical supply; and whether he is satisfied that the scheme will be in full operation by 1940, as originally intended?


If the question of the hon. and gallant Member has reference to the new Regional Schemes under the Act of 1926, considerable progress has already been made by the Central Electricity Board in the carrying out of the schemes, which will be in full operation long before 1940.

Major GLYN

Can the Minister of Transport give me any approximate date If it is long, will it be before 1940, or how long will it be?


I could not say, but as I gather that the hon. and gallant Member was not sure that the scheme would be in full operation by 1940, I think he might be perfectly happy at the moment in knowing that it will be in operation long before that date.

47. Sir G. PENNY

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will take steps to remove the confusion created by the present system of all-in tariffs in connection with the charges and the method of charging for electricity?


The adoption of two-part tariffs tends to reduce the charges for electricity, and also to reduce the differences between the rates charged in different areas, and should in my view, on these and other grounds, be encouraged. If the hon. Member has any specific instances in mind where he considers that the adoption of such tariffs has created confusion perhaps he would furnish me with particulars.

Forward to