Supplement to HISTELEC NEWS No.28
December 2004

South Western Electricity Board Chronology
1948 – 1990

by Peter Lamb

During the Winter 2001/02 at the request of a publisher, I did a considerable amount of research for a potential book on “Nationalised Electricity Supply Industry in the South West 1948 – 1990”, but after that effort the publishers changed their minds, so I give you a SWEB chronology instead. The information has been extracted from the Board Papers, which include the Chairman’s Monthly Reports. Also research from SW Electricity Magazines (1949-1962)# and the ESI Chronology*.

South Western Electricity Board Chronology 1948 – 1990

Click On Year Required 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Jan.1948The Board initially only consisted of four members appointed from 1st January 1948, who were Stanley Steward (Chairman), Harold Midgeley (Dep. Chairman), Frank Forrest & Sir John Kingcome. They had two meetings, which were held at Apsley Road, Bristol, to decide and appoint more Board members and senior officers.
Mar.1948Board -Three more Board Members were appointed for the 3rd Meeting. They were George Johnstone, A.N. (Bill) Irens & S. H. Payne. The senior officers appointed were :-
Chief Engineer
Dep. C. Engineer
Chief Comm. Officer
Chief Accountant
Dep. C. Accountant
Dep. Sec. & Solicitor
: George McLean (from Edmundsons)
: A.W.Allwood (from Dep. C.E. Norwich)
: Bob Steel (from Cheltenham)
: Charles Knight (from Hampstead Borough)
: D.S. Duncan
: Vacant(Derek Wood was appointed later)
: Dan Bentham
Fourth meeting held at the Pulteney Hotel, at which they had their offices.
Apr.1948Board -Sixth Meeting held at Taunton. Decided to make Colston Avenue building their headquarters, but Ministry of Works refused!
May.1948Min. of Works given their permission and Geo. McLean given task to fit out one floor (2nd Floor) of Electricity House.
Jun.1948Board - Secretary and Dep. Chief Comm. Officer appointed :- H.D.B.Wood and G.W.Richards.
Load shedding – Sunday 23rd May 48.1MW
Aug.1948Board-1st meeting held at Electricity House.
Electricity House - Reported that the greater part of 3rd floor would be complete by Opening Ceremony 17th September
Sep.1948Consultative Council - Ald. Perry from Plymouth invited to be Chairman of the South Western Consultative Council.
Nov.1948Accountancy Problems – difficulty in installing Hollerithe machines at Armada Street, Plymouth. Also difficulty in assimilating Christy Bros & Chudleigh accountancy systems.
Load shedding again.
Dec.1948Chulmleigh - Non-statutory undertaking to be purchased for £2000.
Feb.1949Cornwall Rural Development driving ahead with 66.2% connected to the Edmundson’s plan.
Mar.1949Clow Differential - Pressure from BEA being applied to impose this on tariffs, whereby Summer charges are lower than the Winter charges, which was resisted by the Board.
Non-Stat. Undertakings - supplies to two non-statutory undertakings were refused – Colyton and Polruan. Both undertakings were DC and at Polruan there was no supply, due to a road closure and the oil tanker being unable to deliver.
May.1949Accounting Offices had been reduced to four during the year and a future reduction to two were planned, just Bristol and Plymouth.
Jul.1949Polruan non-statutory undertaking. SWEB agreed to run the generation for one year and vested in the Liskeard District Manager (totally illegal !!), until supply can be brought in.
Consultative Council reported to be demanding a “subvention” or Government Subsidy towards Rural Development in the South West.
Sep.1949Annual Report(1st) says Board are responsible for the Isles of Scilly. Consumers given as 531,000, an increase of 24,000. At least 55% beyond the reach of the existing 11kV network, including 27,000 farms.
Nov.1949Rural Development – Line rental scheme adopted.
Window Display competition to be introduced.
Jan.1950Reorganisation – Cornwall reduced to 5 districts and four Bristol Commercial Districts created, North, East, South and Central.
Feb.1950Reorganisation Proposal – To merge two sub-areas, Torquay and Exeter by transferring Barnsataple and Tiverton to Taunton and Plymouth and W. Devon to Exeter.
Apr.1950Non-Statutory Undertakings – Work to give a supply to Chulmleigh due to be completed in March. With Colyton, there had been no agreement reached to date.
Load shedding – Paper on the subject.
Dec.1950Colyton Non-Stat – Owner agreed to accept £4000. Buildings retained but rented back.
Board - Death of Frank Forrest (Board member).
Apr.1951Staff – Frank Richardson and A.G. Milne appointed Ass’t Chief Engineers. Bob Steele formerly Chief Commercial Officer moved to Bath as DM replacing Milne.
Jun.1951Standard Tariffs – A report was presented to standardise tariffs replacing 137 tariffs.
Jul.1951BEPC Brighton – Irens presented a paper on peak lopping using Diesel Generating Sets.
Oct.1951Armada Street – found to be inadequate. Additional premises found at top floor Dingles St.Theresa’s Bakery.
Mar.1951.Staff – A.C.Owen, Sub-area Manager for Cornwall retires
Nov.1951Paper on “Sales of Appliances” – by Derek Wood, Secretary, who has taken over duties of Chief Comm. Officer, Bob Steel.
Jan.1952Board- Stanley Steward – to stand BEA Board for one year.
May.1952Vesting of Assets– paper resolves to make agreements with 11 local authorities, and agreement has been reached with the BEA in respect of 23 of the 26 generating stations operating at vesting day. There is dispute over three – Minehead, Bideford & Weston-s-M.
Jun.1952EDA Public Speaking Competition won by Alex Begbie of Torbay (2nd in National Final)
Consultative Council – had a meeting with Sir Henry Self asking again for a Subvention.
Aug.1952Rural Development– 850th farm connected, Hendra Farm near Liskeard.
Mobile Service Centre – visiting villages in Taunton District
Oct.1952Lynmouth Floods reported Boards records recovered from upper floor above Gen. Station
Nov.1952Plymouth “B” opened 30th September.
Dec.1952Brixham DC/AC Change-over nearly complete.
Mar.1953Rural Development brought before the H of P by Sir Harold Roper. Subvention turned down by PS to Minister of F & P.
May.1953EDA Public Speaking Competition– Stuart Martyn from Cornwall won the men’s National Final, Kathleen Barker (HO) came second in the Women’s Section.
Oct.1953Manor House Hotel, Moretonhampstead– National meeting on Rural Development. Target set of 85% farms connected within 10 years. Most Boards would achieve this, three (including SWEB) would not, probably take 15 years.
Apr.1954Rural Development Charges changed from Line Rental scheme to R.D. Contributions.
May.1954BEA have agreed to give a grant to SWEB of £250,000/year from Central Reserve Fund.
Sep.1954Mobile Showrooms – (National First#) 3 buses purchased.
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Mar.1955CCD doubling of capital works over the next three years.
Apr.1955Herbert Committee- Chairman met Select Comm. on Nat. Industries.
East Yelland Power Station opened on 21st April 1955 by Lord Fortescue with Sir Henry Self present, he praises SWEB for their RD Programme anticipating a national RD Plan
Jun.1955Board- Stanley Steward made Chairman of EDA for one year.
Oct.1955Paper by Chief Accountant– Recommending conclude contract with BTM and enter into new contract with IBM. Also preparations to combine CBO Plymouth (Billing) with MAO Bristol (Accounting) to form CAO at Plymouth.
Dec.1955Board – Following the resignation of Stanley Steward, A.N.(Bill) Irens appointed Chairman from 1st March 1956.
Hire of Appliances – nat. agreement not to hire appliances, only to educational institutes.
Apr.1956Vesting of Assets – two local authorities outstanding of 11, they are Bristol & Plymouth.
Nov.1956St. Mary’s (Scilly) Electricity Supply Co.Ltd, to be taken over by SWEB involving 5 Diesel Gen. Sets totalling 555KW and 11 staff.
Feb.1957Staff – Chief Engineer, P.M.Wilson, appointed.
Mar.1957Board - Derek Wood, Secretary resigned on being appointed Dep. Chairman of EEB
Apr.1957Board – Dan Bentham appointed Secretary & Solicitor.
Jul.1957CAO established with machine accounting transferred from Bristol to Plymouth.
Oct.1957Isles of Scilly – taken over 1st October, generation to be run on behalf of central authority
Jan.1958Reorganisation – 12 directly managed districts proposed, reduced from 19 and the removal of Sub-Areas, Sub-Area Managers renamed Group Advisors. (CEGB also reorganising from 11 Divisions to 5 Regions)
May.1958HV Plastic Aerial Cable (National First*) installed Heddon Valley, near Parracombe Switched on by Jean Metcalfe, of BBC “ Family Favourites”, staying at the Hunters Inn.
Jun.1958Standardisation – No. of DC consumers reduced from 2059 to 1182 in one year.
Jul.1958Staff – DM’s appointed, Exeter–Frank Richardson, Taunton– G. Ridge, E.Cornwall- Isaacs
Sep.1958Reorganisation – Barnstaple reprieved, now to be 13 districts
Nov.1958Group Advisors – Messrs. Garwood and Hocking to retire on 31st December.
Dec.1958Isles of Scilly – SWEB wished to conclude agreement with CEGB and to gain agreement from Minister to generate. Minister has issued formal consent.
Jan.1959Paper on Gas Turbine Generation – For peak lopping and improve load factor.
Operational Research introduced to SWEB appointed Mr.A. Chisem to be in charge.
Mar.1959Board - S.F.C.Whitmore, to be appointed as a member of the Board. (Dep.Chairman from 1stAug. upon Harold Midgley’s retirement)
May.1959Three New Buildings under construction :- Elliott Rd., Plymouth, Locking Rd., WSM, and at Priorswood Rd., Taunton.
Jun.1959Turbo-Generators – Annual Report stated that two units have been approved, one at Princetown and at another place to be decided. (Jan 1960 decided it would be Lynton).
Standardisation – also mentioned that only 74 DC consumers left on the system.
Jul.1959CAO – Accountant in Charge appointed J.G.Byers replacing G.G.Vincent.
Dec.1959Control Room – in Electricity House completed and opened by Lord Mayor including
Turbo-Generator (National First*)- switching-on remotely generator at Princetown (11th December).
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Jun.1960Turbo-Generator - Minister of Power visited Princetown Turbo-Generator on 30th.
Nov.1960Turbo-Generator – 2nd site at Lynton switched on.
Dec.1960Turbo-Generator – third one to be at Porlock.
Floods at Bath and Exeter
Feb.1961Meter Test Stations at Plymouth and Taunton to close
Feb.1962Isles of Scilly – Decision to purchase 2 – 450KW generators
Oct.1962Isles of Scilly – protest by IOS Council via Consultative Council about high tariffs.
Dec.1962SWEB Trade Mark registered, term is for 7 years and renewable.
Feb.1963Turbo-Generator – Fourth unit to be established at Roseland near St.Mawes, Cornwall.
Sep.1963R.F.Richardson(Chief Comm. Officer) appointed Chairman of NWEB
Oct.1963A.O.Johnson appointed Chief Commercial Officer
Dec.1963Tricity “Electra” Cooker to bear SWEB label.
Jan.1964R.D. Terms – new ones issued from 1st April.
Mar.1964Turbo-Generator – Fifth generator to be installed at Mevagissey.
Apr.1964Berkeley Nuclear Station opened on 5th April – Chairman attended.
First Aid Competitions – Barnstaple team won the SW final and went on to win the national final, retaining the national trophy.
Jun.1964Barnstaple Old Gen. Station – to be converted into stores etc.
Jul.1964SWEB laid 132kV cables from Lockleaze to Mangotsfield.
Sep.1964SWEB Appliance Sales highest of any Board in terms of 1000 domestic consumers, a position they held for many years.
Oct.1964Chief Engineer - P.M.Wilson death reported at age of 62. Len Locker succeeds him.
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Jan.1965Volts Standardisation – Bristol to seek permission for a two stage volts conversion 210 to 240 i.e. 210 to 230 then 230 to 240 after ten years.
Feb.1965Control Room at Feeder Road opened i.e. transfer from Electricity House.
Mar.1965Blizzard hits the West Country on 6th March.
Aug.1965Pocket Substations (National First) first specially designed packaged substations installed in Bristol, made by three firms – SWS, Brush & Foster.
Nov.1965Load Shedding – November cold spell coldest for 100 years
Oct.1966CAO – IBM 360 Computer installed.
May.1967Mini-Pillars services distribution demonstrated by Cornwall.
MBO to be introduced replacing Operational Research.
Sep.1967SWEB Brand to be changed to SWEBLINE, launched 13th November.
Jan.1968Helicopter Team (National First) established by the purchase of a Jet Ranger from Italy
132kV Assets proposed transfer from CEGB to SWEB.
Mar.1968Taunton Training Centre completed.
Apr.1968Board - Chairman has agreed to be Chairman of the S.W. Economic Planning Council for 3 years.
SWEBLINE Trade Mark registered
Pay & Productivity schemes to be introduced. Agreement with NJIC
Oct.1968Tariffs – new Day & Night Tariff introduced, in order to phase out the afternoon boost.
Jun.1969Electricity Council held their 99th meeting at Electricity House, Bristol.
JOPP – job organisation, planning & programming to be introduced for controlling field activities.
Oct.1969Board – A.O.Johnson appointed to the Board as well as being Chief Comm. Officer.
Nov.1969Engineering – Consac aluminium cored and sheathed to be introduced.
P & P Agreement – agreed nationally with NJIC for a 10% wage increase.
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Apr.1970Buildings – Piling commenced both at Feeder Road, Bristol and at CAO, Manadon.
Aug.1970Medallion Homes scheme being considered similar to national scheme.
Sep.1970Central Appliance Store being considered.
Nov.1970Capital Investment – Government have demanded a reduction over a two year period.
National Fuel Emergency – Coal Strike procedures have been worked out.
Mar.1971Overhead lines to revert to copper conductor, instead of aluminium due to corrosion.
Jun.1971Ghana Project – Four engineers volunteered to work in Ghana
Jul.1971Feeder Road – Avonbank Building opened 2nd July
Sep.1971Isles of Scilly - St. Mary’s Gen. Station 1MW set to be installed requiring a larger chimney.
Nov.1971CAO Staff moving into new building.
Dec.1971New Engineering Projects – Pocket Substations and Heat-shrink HV terminations.
Jan.1972Board – W.J.English, Board member knighted.
Mar.1972Power Emergency – Rota Disconnections changed to meet consumer criticisms.
May.1972Building – Priorswood Road, Taunton opened.
Sep.1972Reorganisation – proposal to reduce number of districts to 8. DM’s appointed.
Nov.1972Reorganisation – appointed two assistants for each district – Eng. and Comm. Managers
Feb.1973Reorganisation – New organisation stumbling with the Union negotiations.
Mar.1973Board - Chairman – Bill Irens to retire and Glyn England appointed to replace him 1st August.
Aug.1973Board – Board member Sir John English dies.
Consultative Council – David Atchley to replace Lady Carew Pole as Chairman since ’52
Jan.1974Reorganisation Abandoned – Glyn England states “inappropriate to proceed”.
Apr.1974Annual Report shows 13 Districts, Grouped as Bristol 3, Somerset 3, Devon 4, Cornwall 3
Comm. Sales of Appl. – shown as double all other Boards (all Board’s average).
Jun.1974Len Locker retires as Chief Engineer and John Winterburn appointed in his stead.
Board - Bryan Weston appointed Commercial manager and member of the Board.
Hydro-Stations - CEGB discusses closure of Mary Tavy, Morwellham and Chagford.
Jul.1974David Legg appointed Assist. Chief Accountant.
Sep.1974Urban Network Management (UNM)– Transformer Load Monitoring – Computers in Bristol & Plymouth being linked to enable information from the billing files to be used for UNM.
Dec.1974Aluminium sheathed 11kV cable to be introduced to save £70,000 a year.
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Jan.1975Plowden Committee – Evidence of SWEB given for possible restructuring of the ESI.
Apr.1975Portishead “A” Power Station to be closed 31st March 1976.
Jun.1975Board - Bryan Weston appointed member of the Board
Jul.1975Board - Glyn England has accepted to be a part-time member of the CEGB for 2 years.
Sep.1975Commercial Manager - Keith Oxtoby replaces Bryan Weston (Both Weston, 1949, and Oxtoby, 1951, were Eng. Students of SWEB).
Oct.1975132kV Conductor Replacement – SWEB demands fully greased steel reinforced alum. conductors whereas CEGB were happy with only the inner conductor greased.
Staff – Robert Symons awarded the IEE Willis Jackson prize.
Jan.1976Electric Car – Prince of Wales invited to test new Enfield 800 electric car.
Mar.1976Alverdiscott 400/132kV S/S proposed, presumably with East Yelland closing later?
May.1976Staff - DM’s appointed D.Smith and Ron Symons to Plymouth and West Cornwall resp.
Hayle Power Station to be closed.
Jun.1976Ghana Project signed contract.
Aug.1976Consultative Council Chairman changed - Mr. Pannell replaces Mr Atchley.
Sep.1976DM appointment – Mr. P.L. Bass appointed to East Cornwall.
Oct.1976DM appointment – Mr.F. Morris appointed to Taunton, replacing Mr. Cleave.
Nov.1976Board - Glyn England appointed Chairman of CEGB from 30th June
Dec.1976Sec. Of State for Energy, Dr. J. Cunningham visited SWEB.
DM appointment – John Bee appointed to West Cornwall.
Mar.1977Board – D.M.McGrouter apponted Dep. Chairman. Lady Carew Pole has died.(She retired as Chairman of Cons. Council in August 1973).
May.1977Board - New Chairman appointed – Kenneth Whittle appointed. Mr.Whitmore has agreed to stay on until 31st July.
Jun.1977Board - Bryan Weston appointed Dep. Chair of Yorkshire Board.
DM appointment - Mr. Fletcher appointed to Bath replacing Mr. Bax.
Aug.1977Group Engineer appointment – David Tucker appointed.
Oct.1977Ghana Project reported to be into Phase III.
Mar.1978NMS Studies to test volt drop and load calculations.
Apr.1978Blizzard Report (Feb) issued.
Iron Acton – Feeder Road 132kV line under construction, nearing completion.
May.1978Employees – 3473 industrial plus 107 craft apprentices & 3153 non-industrial. As at March 1978, being 354 less than last year.
Aug.1978New Tariff – new Day/Night tariffs to be introduced.
Oct.1978Board - Dep. Chairman, Mr. McGrouther, to leave to take up an appointment with EC.
Nov.1978Board- Dep. Chairman – Mr. Brian Townsend appointed from 1st December.
“Brown Goods” to be sold in shops from 2nd October.
Economy 7 Leaflets sent out explaining revised off-peak times.
Centralised Appliance Stores – Bristol operational from April 1979, similar to Norton Fitzwarren and independent of Exeter.
Jan.1979 Proposed Closure of Certain Shops – SWEB have “some 100 shops”, double the average of all Boards. Closures Yelverton, Polperro, Millbrook, Lostwithiel & Budleigh Salterton.
Mar.1979New Depot for Torquay at Watcombe operational.
Apr.1979Alverdiscott 132kV Substation deferred until 1983.
Jul.1979132kV Reconductoring – paper approved to spend £401,000 for 30kM, already completed 264kM between 1974 – 1978.
Aug.1979Management Structure Change – proposed 13 districts grouped into 4 managed units as
Avon – 355,500 consumers
Somerset – 175,600 consumers
Devon – 357,000 consumers
Cornwall – 181,400 consumers
Sep.1979SWEDAT – new remote control system at a cost of £7M proposed.
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Jan.1980Ghana Project III struggling due to revolution.
Feb.1980 Area Managers appointed :–
Severnside : F. Morris,
Somerset : G. Ashwood,
Devon : C.C. Brazier,
Cornwall : J.C. Bee.
Jul.1980Consultative Council – New chairman appointed, Rear Admiral W.J.McClune.
Alverdiscott 132kV Substation – approval sought to spend £1,178,000.
Oct.1980Plymouth “B” Power Station to be decommissioned from October 1981.
Nov.1980Board’s Corporate Identity – new colour (red) & logo launched with van in new livery.
Engineering – New hybrid service cable to be standard.
Dec.1980Restructuring of NJCC – coordinating councils to replace advisory councils at all levels.
Mar.1981More Shop Closures – 19 targeted, but only 4 agreed.
Oct.1981Portishead “B” Power Station closure to be brought forward from 1985 to 1st Oct. 1982.
Nov.1981New Computers – CAO : IBM 3033, Eng : IBM 4331
Dec.1981132kV Transfer – control transfer to be in 1985.
Mar.1982SWEDAT/SWECOM – Tenders invited.
New Blizzard Report – December 13th to 19th 1981
Apr.1982Headquarters Restructuring – basically Chief Officers to become Directors.
SWEDAT/SWECOM – contracts to be placed with Westinghouse & Plessey resp.
Sep.1982Isles of Scilly – report no economic case!
Nov.1982Isles of Scilly – further report in response to paper by “Mains Electricity Action Group” Stating basically that it is too expensive.
Dec.1982Bath Depot – to be at Radstock Road, MSN. Walcot St. & Dorchester St to be sold.
Mar.1983Employees – 3278 Industrial & 2736 Office Staff = 6014 total.
May.1983New Computer – delivered to CAO on 21st March - IBM 3083 – E16 Cost = £520,000
Jun.1983 – Judge not prepared to issue a Declaration in favour of St. Mary’s Tariff.
Jul.1983Isles of Scilly – SWEB have approved the use of waste heat from Gen. Sta. for St. Mary’s Hosp.
Sep.1983Portable Billing Machine by Immediate Billing Systems PLC tested in Exeter.
Oct.1983Solid State Meters – by Sangamo purchased. They are less vulnerable to tampering.
Dec.1983132kV System Control – SWEB took over control of Northern Section on 6th Nov. and will take over the remainder on 6th Dec.
Feb.1984Tariff Revision – Government has set External Financing Limits (EFL) for all Boards. SWEB target of 1.85% return on net assets for 2 years, results in increasing tariffs by 2%.
Mar.1984East Yelland Power Station to close at the end of October 1984.
Apr.1984Redland Training Centre to be sold for £287,603.
May.1984Turbo-Gen – Silencing and exhaust systems have collapsed at Mevagissey & Princetown.
NAFIRS – SWEB commenced direct entry of Fault info from 1st April 1984.
Isles of Scilly– Marine Survey complete.
Network Management System (NMS) – to be implemented throughout the Board.
Alverdiscott 400/132kV Grid Station – commissioned 29th April.
Jul.1984Wind Farm – planning permission given for one at Slade Farm, Woolacombe, Somerset.
Radio Teleswitches (60) purchased.
SF6 Switchgear Pole Mounted Reclosures - Probably the first in the Country.
Nov.1984Electric vehicles – 2 Dodge & Bedford vans are in service.
Dec.1984Isles of Scilly – Letter to Earl of Avon, Dep. Of Energy, confirming that the Board will bear cost of undersea 11kV cables (to the outer islands), but cost to potential consumers would be £1000 each for LV mains etc. Board to apply for EEC grants.
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Mar.1985Isles of Scilly – Board given approval to spend £2,615,000 with contributions amounting to £1,630,000 supported by the Duchy of Cornwall, IOS Council, Countryside Comm.(CC), Cornwall C.C., and Tresco Estates. Extra costs of U/G by the Duchy, CC, and European Development Fund.
Mar.1985Auto-reclosers – Faros Scheme of pneumatic reclosers installed.
May.1985SWECOM – Microwave system commissioned for communication between HO & CAO.
SWEDAT – First part in operation by end of March.
– David Jones appointed Engineering Director.
Sep.1985Board – J.M.H. Walker retired as Financial Director.
Oct.1985Board – Richard Paine appointed Financial Director from 1st Nov.
Jan.1986Head Office – Paper presented to spend £5.68M for a new building at Aztec West.
Radio Teleswitches to be used instead of time-switches for Economy 7 Tariff.
Apr.1986Board – Brian Townsend left to take up appointment as Chairman of MEB.
Manager, Devon – Cliff Brazier retires and replaced by George Ashwood.
Jun.1986Board – John Seed appointed Deputy Chairman from 1st June.
Management – Bruce Merrick appointed Area Manager Somerset.
Economy 7 – Paper by J.A.G.Bonner on requirement for new regimes, since night peaks are 10% above day peaks.
Jul.1986Management – John Spiller appointed Area Engineering Manager, Severnside.
Aug.1986 Bills’ Price Reduction – Following Coal Board agreement with CEGB a reduction can be given of 0.2p/unit on all bills.
Sep.1986Bath Offices – sold for £775,000.
Appliance Servicing – Paper 185 ind. staff completed 165,000 jobs with turnover £5.37M.
Oct.1986Selston Report – National report on substation safety received, which eventually required work on all outdoor substations.
Nov.1986Growth of Night-time Loads – Elec. Council concerned at increased capital programme, but paper stated that it was not appropriate to increase off-peak tariffs, since it was in the national interest. First time SWEB’s MD occurred at night, 1st March at 1.30am=2324MW
Jan.1987Radio Teleswitches – Installation begun.
Feb.1987New HQ – Board approval given to spend £6.98M on new offices at Aztec West.
Board –New Chairman appointed Mr. A.W.Nicol from 29th April (Ken Whittle retires).
Isles of Scilly –New Diesel generator 1.9MW for St. Mary’s Gen. Sta. Mirrlees Blackstone deliv’d
Mar.1987Fibre Optic Cable – First cable laid between CAO and Elliott Road, Plymouth.
Apr.1987Wind Generator (120KW) – erected on St. Mary’s, I of S with grant from EEC.
Jun.1987Appliance Servicing – Paper states
Losses in years :- 80/81, 81/82, 83/84
Profit in years :- 82/83, 84/85, 85/86, 86/87
Industry has agreed a rate of 5% return.
Jul.1987Privatisation – Paper by Chairman and Secretary with no obvious conclusions.
Sep.1987Customer Care – Paper on the importance of customer satisfaction. First mention of “customers” instead of “consumers”.
Oct.1987Isles of Scilly – Marine survey for a mainland link undertaken on 14th September.
Dec.1987Appliance Servicing Report– inconclusive, still difficulties ahead.
Contracting Report – Showing only small increase over same period last year.
Appliance Marketing Report – Turnover slightly above last year. The improvement in market share was in excess of that for other Boards.
Feb.1988Vending Machines – First installed in Bristol in January.
Mar.1988Isles of Scilly – Mainland connection approved at a cost of £6.255M.
May.1988Control Room – Somerset closed following installation of SWEDAT and SWECOM.
Jun.1988Computer – CAO had new IBM 3090 – 200 in March at £1.57M, now it is required to upgrade to IBM 3090 – 300E at a cost of £1.372M.
Key Operated Meters – 10,000 purchased at a cost of £1.388M.
Oct.1988Superstore – Approval sought for first superstore at Cribbs Causeway at £634,000.
Feb.1989Privatisation – Chairman states that Secretary of State has announced his intention of appointing me as Chairman and John Seed as Managing Director. Strategy Steering Group set up consisting of all senior officers, Nicol, Seed, Marshall, Oxtoby, Paine, Carson and also John Bonner appointed Director of Privatisation. Plus four advisory companies.
Mar.1989Reorganisation– The rationale has emerged of a new Trading Division has been approved by the Board, for the opportunity it offers of reducing overheads on three accounts.
New Superstore – at Marsh Mills, Plymouth expenditure considered.
Mar.1989Board - Keith Oxtoby to be released from his post to work with Bristol & Avon Enterprise Agency. W.T.R. Meadows appointed Trading Director. Richard Paine to be Director of Corporate Development with new Financial Director, John Sellers, appointed.
Jun.1989Electricity House – sold for £9,627,000, whereas it only cost £9,923,500 to establish HQ at Aztec West, including land purchase etc. Aztec West now too small requiring an extension at £2.3M!
Isles of Scilly – The mainland connection cost £7M with 55% grant from European Regional Development Fund enabling tariffs to be equalised between the Isles and the mainland.
Superstore – Cribbs Causeway achieved a £900,000 sales in first 15 weeks.
Computer – New IBM 3090 mainframe installed enlarging computer capacity.
Operations Division – new title of report of Engineering Department plus possibly Energy Marketing.
Sep.1989Share Registrar – appointed Nat Westminster Bank.
Corporate Communications Budget (i.e. for PR/Advertising) sought approval to spend £550,000 towards flotation.
Oct.1989Central Appliance Store at Exeter is now complete.
Nov.1989Brokers appointed.
Dec.1989Renewable Energy – Paper by John Bonner mentions CEGB experimental wind farm at Carmarthen Bay. Seven sites considered in the South West total capacity of 37MW.
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Jan.1990Employee Share Scheme is considered.
Teeside Power Project – Proposed to approve an agreement to purchase electricity from the new power station with Enron/ICI and if possible obtain equity stake in the new project.
Feb.19902nd Board Meeting of the new South Western Electricity plc., to be on 5th March.
January Storm – Major emergency on 25th Jan. Loss of supply to 250,000 customers.
Mar.1990Consultation Council – Final meeting held and all outstanding issues to be dealt with by the Office of Electricity Regulation (Offer).
Board - Last Meeting of the Nationalised Board held after 42 years – it was the 495th.