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Electricity Supplies

Volume 955: debated on Thursday 3 August 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the regulations and practice prevailing with regard to the generation and supply of electricity by bodies other than the Central Electricity Board where such generation is (a) the prime purpose of the supplier and (b) a secondary result of other operations.

In England and Wales the generation and supply of electricity by bodies other than the Central Electricity Generating Board or an area electricity board is governed primarily by section 23 of the Electric Lighting Act 1909, sections 11 and 36 of the Electricity (Supply) Act 1919, section 21 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and section 11 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. Section 14 of the Energy Act 1976 regulates the use of oil and natural gas in generating stations established or converted since 1st January 1977.Section 23 of the 1909 Act prohibits any company or person supplying or distributing electricity except where the business of that company or person is not primarily that of supplying electricity.Section 11 of the 1919 Act prohibits the establishment, other than by an electricity board, of a new generating station or the extension of an existing station without the consent of the Secretary of State, except in the case of a "private generating station" as defined in section 36 of that Act—essentially a station generating electricity for use solely or mainly on the owner's premises or for the purpose of his undertaking. In the case of a private generating station, the owner must comply with any regulations made by the Secretary of State as to the type of current, frequency and pressure to be used. No such regulations have been made, but my Department gives advice on these matters. The safety of generating stations and persons employed at them is governed by the Factories Act 1961 and regulations having effect under that Act. Electric lines for the distribution of electricity from private generating stations are subject to regulations for the protection of the public safety imposed by notice under section 4 of the Electric Lighting Act 1888.Section 21 of the 1974 Act and section 11 of the 1976 Act enable local authorities to generate electricity; it may be used at the installation where it is produced, or on any premises occupied in connection therewith, but any surplus may only be sold to an electricity board.Electricity supply in Scotland is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what proportion of electricity is supplied to the national grid by private suppliers; and how many such suppliers there are.

Of the total electricity available in the public supply system in Great Britain in 1977, 0·3 per cent. was purchased from outside sources other than the Atomic Energy Authority and British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. I regret that the number of suppliers is not readily available.