HC Deb 20 June 1944 vol 401 cc20-2
41. Mr. Bossom

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power (1) whether he intends to standardise the voltage of electricity throughout England and Wales after the war at, say, 230 volts; and to convert all direct current supplies to alternating current; and

(2) whether the Electricity Commissioners have estimated the approximate cost for unifying all the mains, transformers and other apparatus owned by all the various supply authorities to enable electricity supplied throughout England and Wales to be standardised at 230 volts A.C.

Major Lloyd George

In January, 1944, a Committee of the Institution of Electrical Engineers published a report in which they estimated that on a pre-war basis the cost of standardising the voltages of alternating current consumers was£15,800,000: they gave no estimate of the cost of converting direct current systems to alternating current. If only because of its financial implications, I am unable to regard standardisation of voltages and supplies apart from the general question of the reorganisation of an electricity supply, which is now receiving the active consideration of the Government. I can assure my hon. Friend that I am fully aware of the importance of carrying out this work of standardisation at the earliest possible opportunity.

Mr. Bossom

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his answer will give a lot of satisfaction, because, if carried out, it will enable small hand-powered tools to be produced, which will reduce the cost of building and also cause a lot of postwar employment in the electrical industry that we cannot attempt to-day?

Sir H. Williams

Is it not true that go per cent. has already been accomplished?

44. Colonel Clarke

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has any plans whereby the agricultural industry may be encouraged to make a greater use of the grid electricity supply system for the provision of power and light on farmsteads and in agricultural dwellings.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture (Mr. Tom Williams)

I presume my hon. and gallant Friend is referring to the post-war period. The possibility of the greater use of electricity on farm premises is a matter that will be considered in connection with post-war agricultural policy and is being taken into account in the active consideration which the Government is giving to the future organisation of electricity distribution generally.

Colonel Clarke

Arising out of that reply, which I think will be gratifying to farmers, does the Minister appreciate what a difference it would make to the clean milk campaign, if every cowshed had electricity to provide light and power for milking machines and things of that sort?

Mr. Williams

I think we all fully appreciate the point which my hon. and gallant Friend makes.

52. Mr. Bossom

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider a grant to the various supply authorities covering the cost of uniforming electricity supplies on the understanding that this will be repaid in due course under some agreed arrangement.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Anderson)

The financial aspects of the problem of standardising supplies of electricity can only be considered as part of the general question of the reorganisation of electricity supply, to which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power has just referred.

Mr. Bossom

Will my right hon. Friend keep in close contact with the Minister of Production as well as the Minister of Fuel and Power in this connection, as this is a matter of very great interest?

Sir J. Anderson

Yes, Sir, we are in consultation with them.