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New Clause—(Consumers To Benefit From Reduction In Charges)

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 27 May 1943

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Any authorised undertakers who receive a supply of electricity directly or indirectly from the Board shall furnish to the Electricity Commissioners such information as they may require from time to time to enable them to determine the amount by which the cost of such supply is less than the cost that would have been incurred by the undertakers in providing or obtaining a like supply had this Act not been passed, and a sum equal to such amount shall be applied by the undertakers for the benefit of their consumers by way of discount or otherwise as the Electricity Commissioners may direct.
—[ Mr. T. Johnston.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This new Clause is in substitution for the existing Clause dealing with the passing on to the consumer of the benefit from reduction in charges. All hon. Members who spoke on this Clause during the Committee stage expressed the view that the wording was unnecessarily cumbersome and difficult. The hon. Members for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), South Ayrshire (Mr. Sloan), Stockport (Sir A. Gridley), The Wrekin (Mr. Colegate) and others all asked us to do what we could to clarify the wording. Everyone agreed with the principle that whatever benefits were secured in the way of cheaper electricity should not be intercepted by undertakers but should be passed on to the consumer. The proposed new Clause clarifies the wording of the Clause which was approved in the Committee stage. There is, however, an addition which I ought to explain. The words:
"authorised undertakers who receive a supply of electricity directly or indirectly"
have been inserted. As the Clause passed through Committee it was only the benefit on electricity supplied directly to one undertaker which could be passed on to the consumer. We are informed that there may be cases in which one undertaker gets electricity and passes it on to another undertaker, and it is therefore necessary to provide that in such cases the second undertaker shall pass on the benefits to the consumer. I understand that all the various local authority and other interests concerned, who have seen this Clause, are satisfied with the wording.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.