§ 47. Mr. Frederick Lee
asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement about arrangements for spreading the industrial electricity load next winter.
§ Mr. Isaacs
Yes, Sir. This matter has been under very careful consideration, and 571 it is clear that steps must be taken next winter to reduce the load on the power stations during the peak periods of the morning and evening. The Electricity Sub-Committee of the National Joint Advisory Council have made certain recommendations which have been accepted by the Government. Copies of the Report have been placed in the Library. I will circulate a fuller statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the statement:
§ This matter has been under very careful consideration, and it is clear that steps must be taken next winter to reduce the load on the power stations during the peak periods in the morning and evening. The risk would otherwise arise of cuts in the supply of electricity on a scale sufficient to cause serious intereference with vital industrial production.
§ While this is a problem which concerns all classes of consumers the contribution which industry should be asked to make towards its solution has been considered by the Electricity Sub-Committee of the National Joint Advisory Council. They have recommended that during the months of December, January and February, when there will be, taking the country as a whole, a substantial deficiency of generating plant in relation to the potential peak demands, industry should be asked to reduce its load by 20 per cent. during the peak hours, which are 8 a.m.—12 noon and 4 p.m.—5.30 p.m. As last winter, arrangements to achieve this should again be worked out by the regional boards for industry and their district, town and other local committees with the firms concerned. During the months of October, November and March the problem is not uniform over the whole country. The Committee therefore recommend that as regards these three months the regional boards for industry should examine the problem in the light of the circumstances of their own region and in collaboration with the British Electricity Authority, and should make such arrangements as they consider necessary. Copies of the Electricity Sub-Committee's Report have been placed in the Library.
§ The Government have accepted these recommendations and are asking the regional boards for industry to make the 572 necessary arrangements. They are confident that both sides of industry will once again show the same spirit of co-operation which characterised last winter's arrangements, but, as an assurance to the vast majority of public-spirited employers and workpeople that their efforts will not be rendered useless by any selfish minority, the Government have accepted the further recommendation that there should be available, as last winter, powers to secure the observance by firms of their obligation to reduce their load by spreading or other means when requested to do so by a regional board for industry.
§ It is not enough to make these arrangements to reduce the consumption of electricity by industry during the peak periods. Other classes of consumers must also make a contribution proportionate to their demand. It has therefore been decided, as announced by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power, to place commercial consumers, including shops, offices, warehouses, hotels and cinemas, within the scope of the arrangements made by the regional boards for industry and they also will be required to reduce their consumption by 20 per cent. during the peak hours on the same basis as industry. Methods of controlling demand by non-industrial consumers have been investigated by a committee under the chairmanship of Sir Andrew Clow, appointed by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power, and I understand its report will shortly be published. I would emphasise that it is essential that domestic consumers who are responsible for a very considerable proportion of the total demands during the peak periods, should play their part in this matter. Only by a combined effort on the part of all consumers can this problem be overcome.