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Electricity Load Spreading

Volume 477: debated on Tuesday 4 July 1950

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asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement about arrangements for spreading the industrial electricity load next winter.

As the reply is rather long, I will, if I may, circulate it in the Official Report.

Following is the reply:

This matter has been under consideration by the Electricity Sub-Committee of the National Joint Advisory Council and the recommendations in its report have been accepted by the Government.

Despite great efforts to expand electricity generating capacity, the increase in demand during recent years has generally been such as to offset the increased supply of current. The expansion in generating capacity is now beginning to overtake the increase in demand, but it is estimated that there will still be a substantial deficit during the peak periods next winter unless the different classes of consumers take special steps to reduce the load. In these circumstances, if the risk of extensive dislocation of industry is to be minimised, load spreading arrangements will be necessary next winter. The arrangements recommended should, however, prove less onerous than those in force last winter.

During next winter, the position as regards the mid-day peak will be so improved as to warrant confining the peak hours for industry during the morning to the period 8 to 9.30 a.m., although care in the use of electricity will still be necessary up to noon. During the hours, 8 to 9.30 a.m. for the months of December, January and February, it is recommended that a reduction in load of at least 10 per cent. should be required of industry. The afternoon peak hours will remain unchanged at 4 to 5.30 p.m. when a similar reduction of at least 10 per cent. will be required during the period December to mid-January.

Regional Boards for Industry, which will again have general charge of the administrative arrangements, will have discretion to require a reduction in load of more than 10 per cent. at these times where local circumstances make this necessary, and in many cases the load spreading requirements during December January and February will have to be substantially the same as they were last winter. For the remainder of the period October to March inclusive, Regional Boards will have complete discretion to determine the percentage reductions necessary.

In view of the inconvenience and difficulties caused to employers and workpeople last winter by the staggering of hours of work, Regional Boards are to be asked to pay special regard to the need to avoid this method of load spreading as far as possible.

The task of reducing the load cannot be borne by industry alone, and Regional Boards are being asked to arrange for commercial consumers to contribute equally with industry by effecting the same percentage reduction in demand during peak periods. It is also essential that the domestic consumer should make a contribution, and the British Electricity Authority and the Area Electricity Boards will be asked to do everything possible to encourage the fullest economy in the home during the peak periods.

I should like to take this opportunity of expressing the Government's appreciation of the ready and willing cooperation given in previous years by all sections of the community. The Government are confident that the arrangements for next winter, which, though on a reduced scale, will be no less necessary than in the past, will command the same support as in previous years.