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Electricity Supply Industry

Volume 124: debated on Monday 14 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what response he has made to the recent views expressed to him about the future of the electricity supply industry by representatives of employers and trades unions.

I hold regular discussions both with the industry's senior management and representatives of the trade unions. I am giving full consideration to their views in drawing up proposals for the privatisation of the electricity supply industry.


To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what advance estimate he has made of the eventual cost of any promotional and advertising campaign accompanying the selling-off of the electricity supply industry.


To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what cost savings have been achieved in the electricity supply industry in each of the last five years; and what cost saving target has now been set for the next financial year.

The electricity supply industry was set a performance aim of a reduction of 4·25 per cent. in controllable costs—fuel, salaries and most other goods and services — per unit sold in real terms between 1982–83 and 1984–85. The industry estimates that had it not been for the effects on its operations of the miners' strike in 1984–85 controllable cost savings would have been close to target. Between 1983–84 and 1986–87 it achieved a further reduction of 4·6 per cent. as compared with the aim for the period 1983–84 to 1987–88 of a reduction of 6·1 per cent. The performance aim for the next financial year is under discussion.


To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what the rate of return on investment for the electricity supply industry has been in each of the past 10 years; and if he will make a statement.

It is not possible to measure the rate of return on investment in an individual year. The Government expect the electricity supply industry to achieve a 5 per cent. real rate of return on its new investment as a whole.


To ask the Secretary of State for Energy, how many people are employed in the electricity supply industry; and what is his estimate of future employment.

The average number of employees in the industry in 1986–87 was 132,000. The level of employment is a matter for the industry.