§ 91. Sir I. Fraser
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what principles guide the authorities in the matter of load shedding so as to minimise inconvenience to homes and factories.
97. Mr. E. Martin Smith
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if, in view of the widespread power cuts to be expected this winter, he will institute a definite rota system all over the country giving days and hours when these cuts can be 114W expected; and, further, if he will arrange with the British Broadcasting Corporation for warnings of power cuts to be announced at a given time each day.
§ 99. Lieut. - Commander Braithwaite
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will make representations to the British Electricity Authority with a view to obviating domestic power cuts at hours when housewives are engaged in cooking the evening meal.
§ 104. Mr. Cooper-Key
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that the recent practice of cutting off the electricity supply from the areas in and around Rye without warning between 4 and 5 p.m. on Mondays causes serious inconvenience to households preparing an evening meal for people returning from the day's work; and whether he will direct that the hour of the cut be advertised in advance and that it should be carried out at a less inconvenient time.
§ 105. Sir W. Smithers
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he has considered complaints which have been sent to him concerning the difficulties and hardships of the members of the Petts Wood Chamber of Commerce caused by power cuts; and what action he proposes to take.
§ Mr. P. Noel-Baker
When the demand for electricity from consumers exceeds the capacity of the power stations, some of the load must be shed, to prevent a breakdown of the plant. Thus, the timing of load-shedding is not determined by the British Electricity Authority; it depends on the consumers themselves, whose demand varies from hour to hour and from district to district, according to the weather and other factors.
The area boards do everything they can to minimise the inconvenience caused. Whenever possible, they reduce the voltage as much as they can before they cut consumers off. The reductions which they can make are limited, however, by technical factors over which they can have no control.
The institution of a rota is a matter for the area boards. Rotas are already operated in many places with considerable success. But a rota cannot, unfortunately, be made precise. I am considering the whole subject of warnings, but there are great difficulties to be 115W overcome, since the fluctuations of electricity demand cannot be foreseen, and cuts have often to be made at a few minutes notice.
§ 100. Lieut. - Commander Braithwaite
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will make representations to the British Electricity Authority with a view to obviating domestic power cuts during the Christmas holidays.
§ Mr. P. Noel-Baker
I am glad to assure the hon. and gallant Member that, as most of industry will not be working during the Christmas holidays, the demand for electricity will be much reduced and it is, therefore, extremely unlikely that power cuts will be required.