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Severe Weather Conditions (Energysupplies)

Volume 960: debated on Friday 15 December 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many breakdowns of energy supplies occurred during the exceptional weather conditions experienced from Christmas day onwards; and if he will make a statement on how the United Kingdom's energy supplies functioned during this period.


In England and Wales the national demand for electricity was fully met without difficulty. During the wintry weather, supplies to a limited number of consumers in rural areas, notably the South-West and North-East of England and North Wales were lost due to damage to lower voltage distribution lines. In some isolated cases, because of blocked roads, the restoration of supplies was delayed longer than usual and helicopters and specialist army vehicles had to be used for repair work. The Secretary of State for Scotland has responsibility for the electricity supply industry in Scotland.


In general gas supplies have been maintained to all customers, apart from certain large users whose contracts provide for interruption for specified periods

Coal and Oil

In common with all road transport, coal and oil deliveries were hampered by blocked roads and there were some delays.

I would like to put on record my appreciation of the efforts of all those involved in the supply industries in maintaining and restoring supplies to consumers in the face of such adverse conditions.