By Leslie Hannah
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Additional info for Engineers, Managers and Politicians: The First Fifteen Years of Nationalised Electricity Supply in Britain
The latter included exhortations to consumers to switch off appliances, reductions in supply voltages by 5 per cent (which was considered the maximum tolerable limit), and encouragement to industrialists voluntarily to stagger their factory hours away from peak times. This situation was primarily the consequence of wartime cutbacks 23 L. Hannah, Engineers, Managers and Politicians © The Electricity Council 1982 24 Nationalisation: the Problems of Transition in investment in new generating plant and the difficulties of transition back to the peacetime construction programme.
Sales by 1948 were almost double those of ten years earlier, though the installed capacity of power stations had been increased by less than half of this. All categories of sales had shown an increase in the decade, but the really spectacular growth, especially after 1943, had been in sales to domestic consumers. By the later 1940s, domestic sales were approaching nearly three times the prewar level. While moral suasion had been favoured in the War (in preference to rationing) as a means of restricting domestic demand, and had for a time been partially successful, as peace returned it lost much of its impact.
The chief officers of the Area Boards - engineers, commercial officers, secretaries and accountants - also had regular meetings with their opposite numbers at the Central Authority. Citrine's policy was the standard one: to hammer out a consensus by discussion. He and Self devoted infinite pains to making this democratic centralism work. The Area Board men, worn down and frustrated by committees and discussions, sometimes resented the method. But the Central Authority always preferred persuasion, keeping their powers of direction in reserve.