HC Deb 13 July 1953 vol 517 cc1696-7
13. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the aggregate installed capacity of British Electricity Authority's generating stations at 30th June, 1953, compared, respectively, with one year and two years earlier; what further capacity is to be installed before 31st March, 1954; and, in view of the accentuated peak-load demand anticipated next winter, arising from increased industrial production and greater use of electricity for domestic space and water heating, due to the shortage of house coal, what steps he is taking to avoid interruption of production caused by low frequencies, load-shedding, power-cuts and other generating ills.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

The installed capacity was 14,760 megawatts in 1951, 16,020 in 1952 and 17,490 this year. The programme up to 31st March next is about a further 1,300 to 1,400 megawatts. The increase in plant this year is expected to be considerably more than the increase in demand from all causes.

Mr. Nabarro

Is not the shortage of house coal going to lead to a rush to use electric fires, particularly at peak hours, which may gravely impair industrial efficiency and lead to power cuts, low frequencies and so on? What is my right hon. Friend doing about reverting to the excellent arrangements made in 1951 for a load spread of at least 20 per cent. of industry in the forthcoming winter?

Mr. Lloyd

I can assure my hon. Friend that we are considering that carefully.

Mr. Noel-Baker

May we press the Minister? Is he supporting the Minister of Labour strongly in proposals for a greater load spread, which is required both for the reasons given by the hon. Gentleman opposite, and for the greater efficiency of British industry?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, but as the right hon. Gentleman knows this is just the time of year when this matter is about to be considered by the committee which goes into it.

Mr. Noel-Baker

That is why we would like to know that the Minister is pressing the right policy.