HC Deb 02 December 1970 vol 807 cc1261-2
8. Mr. Gray

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland in view of the high charges for connection of electricity supplies made by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board to persons building houses in remote areas, if he will seek powers to provide financial assistance in such cases.

Mr. Younger

Assistance towards electricity connection costs is available under Crofters Building Grants Scheme. It is open to any consumer to make representations to the Electricity Consultative Council for the North of Scotland if he feels aggrieved about connection charges.

Mr. Gray

Does my hon. Friend realise that the charges being imposed in the Highlands may in certain cases go as high as £500? Will he consider making available a separate grant altogether so that the sum going towards electricity installation will not take up such a large amount of the total?

Mr. Younger

The fixing of connection charges is entirely a matter for the board. It is worth noting that the board out of its own revenue subsidies such connection charges up to a total of about £2 million in a year, so some help is being given in this way.

Mr. Maclennan

Recognising that it is the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board and not Greenwich Mean Time which has extended light throughout the Highlands, will the hon. Gentleman undertake to discuss with the chairman of the board how the householder's contribution towards the cost of connection can be reduced, since otherwise the programme will remain uncompleted for many years?

Mr. Younger

I have had several discussions with the chairman of the board. If he would care to raise that question with me, I should be prepared to discuss it with him.