System Expansion: The Area Boards
Although the Central Authority initially resisted the more direct encroachment of Whitehall on the Area Boards (successfully insisting that communication should normally be through the Authority), the semi-political process which determined the Whitehall allocation of resources to electricity was mirrored within the British Electricity Authority. The division of power and cash between the Authority itself (responsible for generation) and the Area Boards (responsible for distribution) was subject to a complex process of bargaining not only with the Ministry but also internally, with discussion there directed as much to political, consensual ends as to traditional commercial disciplines. This was pre-eminently the case where the Area Boards were united in opposing the Central Authority or the Government (as on the Clow differential), though Citrine was more willing to give in to such pressure on matters where he respected the Board Chairmen’s views, such as tariffs, than on matters where he was determined to impose his own, as in labour relations. However, the statutorily-entrenched power of the area chairmen meant that they were more successful than any other group within the Authority in forcing reconsideration of headquarters’ views.
KeywordsCentral Authority Capital Expenditure System Expansion Capital Budget Electricity Service
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Notes and References
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