Commercial Expansion and the Power Load

  • Leslie Hannah


The financial success of the Central Electricity Board was contingent upon a rapid and sustained expansion in the sales of electricity, since the benefits of concentrating generation on the more efficient stations were, by themselves, insufficient to justify the expensive investment in the Grid schemes. For financial viability it was necessary for sales of electricity to grow sufficiently to load up the spare capacity, which had formerly been necessary for isolated operations but could by the mid-1930s be brought into fuller productive use because of the lower safety margins required under Grid operation. In the longer run, also, the Grid could meet any additions to load more cheaply because of the economies of large-scale investment which it facilitated. In the confidential memoranda which the Board propared for each regional Grid scheme, therefore, projections of the growth of sales in each area played a crucial part in the Board’s financial planning of the Grid tariffs.1 During the deepening industrial depression of 1929–32 the Board were particularly worried that they might fall short of financial targets because of the failure of the load to grow with sufficient rapidity; and CEB officers were continuously involved in discussions of methods of promoting the growth of load with the officers of the major supply undertakings in each regional Grid scheme, and with the undertakings collectively in the National Consultative Committee.


Power Load Public Supply Railway Company Supply Industry Central Electricity 
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Notes on the Text

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Copyright information

© The Electricity Council 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie Hannah
    • 1
  1. 1.Emmanuel CollegeCambridgeUK

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