HC Deb 05 March 1946 vol 420 cc157-8
13. Mr. Palmer

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will take immediate steps to improve the quality of coal supplied to electricity generating stations, in view of the lowered efficiency and increased plant maintenance costs brought about by unsuitable coal.

Mr. Shinwell

Some deterioration in quality is inevitable so long as low output necessitates the utilisation of all available grades of coal. In general, I am satisfied that there is an equitable spread of the qualities and quantities available over all classes of consumers. Any immediate improvement, therefore, in the quality of deliveries to electricity stations could only be effected by a real location of supplies, to the prejudice of other consumers. In the meantime, my regional production directors have been instructed to take all possible steps to improve the preparation of coal.

Mr. Palmer

Is the Minister aware that repeated representations have been made to him and to his predecessor by the electricity undertakings on this matter and by individuals, and that there is a great loss to the industry because of it? It is probable that the shedding of the load by the Central Electricity Board on 21st January could have been avoided had this matter been attended to before.

Mr. Shinwell

I do not think any relaxation of supplies was due to that at all. I have not received repeated representations. I know the views of the electricity people, they know my views, and they are very sensible in understanding the position.