27. Captain CAZALET
asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been drawn to the disparity in the prices charged for electricity in different parts of England; whether he will consider appointing a departmental committee to report upon the causes of these variations; and what steps it is advisable to take to bring about a greater degree of uniformity in the prices?
The disparity in prices charged for electricity by the numerous undertakings in different parts of the country is due to a variety of causes which are sufficiently known and it does not appear that further general inquiry is necessary to ascertain them. While there is no doubt room for greater uniformity, my hon. Friend is informed that as a result of the coming into operation of the Grid tariffs there is a. growing tendency for bulk supply charges to become more uniform, and consequently for the distributors to adopt more uniform methods of charge in dealing with consumers. The Electricity Commissioners also state that they take all possible opportunities of impressing upon the industry the need for securing greater uniformity in methods of charge. I may add that in any particular case where local authorities are satisfied that the maxi- 1836 mum prices charged in their district are excessive, it is open to them to apply to my hon. Friend to require such charges to be reduced.
Is my hon. and gallant Friend satisfied that either the Commissioners or the Minister has power to tell the distributing companies to reduce their prices if he thinks it is necessary to do so?
Is it not a fact that the lowest prices now charged are those charged by municipalities, and is not the obvious remedy more public ownership?