HC Deb 06 April 1965 vol 710 cc219-20
2. Mr. Bessell

asked the Minister of Power whether he will give a general direction, in the public interest, to the electricity boards to provide proper earthing systems at no charge to the consumer in cases where earthing to metallic water pipes has become ineffective as a result of the introduction of plastic pipes.

Mr. John Morris

No, Sir. The boards have undertaken to warn consumers where they are aware that earthing may have become impaired, and are prepared to give them any necessary help in putting it right. In many cases they will do this tree of charge, but they must reserve the right to make a charge where circumstances justify this.

Mr. Bessell

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply. Is he aware that there have already been a number of serious accidents as a result of the change from metal pipes to plastic pipes? Is he aware that cases of hardship have arisen where people on a limited income are unable to afford to make the necessary alterations or to permit the electricity board to do this on their behalf? There is a considerable public danger, and this is a matter which requires urgent attention.

Mr. Morris

Whether the boards make a charge must be left to their discretion and commercial judgment, and as the circumstances of individual cases vary it would be inappropriate to make a general direction. However, if the hon. Gentleman has any example of difficulty in mind, I certainly undertake to consider it.