HC Deb 13 February 1922 vol 150 cc653-4W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether they have made a permanent Order, which cannot be revised for five years, increasing the maximum price of electricity to be charged by the North Metropolitan Electric Power Supply Company in Southgate to 8d. per unit without holding any public inquiry into the matter, although the temporary Order had another 18 months to run, in spite of the fact that since the temporary Order was made wages and prices have fallen and are still falling, the benefit of which the public might reasonably be expected to share, and although the Electricity Commission is now considering the whole problem of the supply of electricity in Greater London and may shortly be expected to report thereon; whether such Order was made without requiring the company to supply to the local authorities or otherwise publish the grounds upon which the application was made; and whether the local authorities and local public bodies were unable to deal with such grounds owing to the fact that no public inquiry was held by the Ministry before acceding to the application?


The Minister of Transport, on the application of the North Metropolitan Electric Power Supply Company and after considering the representations made against the application by the Southgate Urban District Council and the County Council of Middlesex, has, in pursuance of the powers vested in him by Section 32 of the Schedule to the Electric Lighting (Clauses) Act, 1899, made an Order fixing the maximum price which may be charged for electricity supplied by the company in respect of the Southgate Electricity Undertaking at 8d. per unit. This price is the same as that authorised by the temporary Order issued under the Statutory Undertakings (Temporary Increase of Charges) Act, 1918, which would have expired in August, 1923. The maximum price of 8d. is, in my opinion, not an unreasonable one under present conditions. In the circumstances, it was not considered necessary to put either the company, the local authorities, or the Department to the expense of a public inquiry. The opportunity for revision of the maximum price will occur in 5 years' time, or in 3 years if a Bill similar to that introduced last Session passes into law.