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Electricity Supply

Volume 827: debated on Monday 6 December 1971

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he is satisfied about the security of electricity supply nationally during the next six months; and if he will make a statement.

I am advised by the Chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board that unless abnormal weather conditions coincide with exceptional plant breakdowns, capacity should be sufficient to meet demand.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Can he go a little further and tell us that we can now put power cuts behind us? Can he tell the House whether we have now conquered the problems which affect the large generating sets and the summer maintenance programme, which have led to power cuts in the past?

I cannot give the complete assurance for which my hon. Friend asks. But it is certainly the aim of the contemplated measures to keep any cuts to the minimum. The C.E.G.B. has undertaken a large maintenance programme during the summer with the aim of increasing availability this winter, and the performance of its 500 megawatt units has shown continuous improvement.