HC Deb 31 January 1963 vol 670 cc1120-1
20. Mr. Fitch

asked the Minister of Power what consultations have taken place with representatives of the gas, coal, and electricity industries during the severe cold weather in order to plan fuel supplies.

39. Dr. Bray

asked the Minister of Power what steps he has taken to ensure consultation and co-operation between the electricity, gas, coal, and coal distribution industries in meeting peak demands in severe weather, in view of the load a shortage in one industry places on the others.

Mr. Wood

There have been daily consultations between my Department and the industries, and between the industries themselves.

Mr. Fitch

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider setting up a joint committee of representatives of the coal, gas and electricity industries in order that more adequate preparation can be made to meet weather of the sort experienced in the last month?

Mr. Wood

I am prepared to look at any method—and I am sure that these industries would be as well—by which their consultation and co-ordination can be improved. But I could cite a great many examples—the list is too long to give now—of the contact which takes place between these industries and which I believe has been very effective.

Dr. Bray

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, while it is extremely expensive to provide adequate capacity through pipes and wire services, it is possible to have ample stocks of domestic fuel available in London and other areas far from the coal fields? Can he say what additional load was placed on the electricity and gas undertakings because of the inadequacy of supplies of coal and coke?

Mr. Wood

I do not think I could possibly give an answer to that question because it would be terribly difficult to find out to what extent people have been driven to burn electricity or gas because they could not obtain coal. If the hon. Gentleman would like to put down a Question, I will do my best to give him what information I can.

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