Area Boards: Independence, Overexpansion and the New Rationality

  • Leslie Hannah


Both the Area Boards and Conservative back-benchers had initially been delighted that the new Electricity Council had relatively few powers of control over the decentralised distribution Boards. Their labour relations remained a central matter (see Chapter 18 below), as did some training and the arrangements for pooling bank accounts and raising capital. But the central responsibilities for policy development, economic and engineering performance, and ‘commercial’ behaviour now lay with the Area Boards. Their officers still met regularly (though less frequently than under the CEA) to discuss common problems, and their chairmen now all met at Council meetings every month, but they were free to go their own way on most matters if they wished. Conservative romantics viewed this as the pathway to more commercial behaviour and increased efficiency and profitability, and the Herbert Committee had itself entertained hopes in this direction; but it became increasingly clear that this particular incantation did not work.


Space Heating Domestic Consumer Rural Electrification Area Board Electricity Council 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    The internal estimates of the increase in the space heating load had varied considerably, but there was agreement that it lay somewhere between a doubling and quadrupling. The mean of these is taken in the text. Cf. P. Schiller, ‘The Select Committee and the Domestic Load’, Electrical Times, vol. 144, 8 August 1963, p. 200.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    R. S. Edwards and D. Clark, ‘Planning for Expansion in Electricity Supply’, Proceedings of the British Electrical Power Convention 1962, pp. 161–3, 189.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The conclusions of the working party were outlined in P. A. Lingard, ‘The Economics of the Domestic Space Heating Load’, in E. M. Ackery (ed.) Electricity and Space Heating (1965).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Electricity Council 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie Hannah
    • 1
  1. 1.London School of EconomicsUK

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