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Electricity is one of man’s greatest inventions, and it has served us in so many ways and functions that one almost takes for granted the magical nature of it all. However, it took a long time for it to get where it is today, in fact it took over a hundred years! The very first case of a supply of public electricity in the United Kingdom came about in the year 1881, where it was used as street lighting. A scant forty years later, in the year 1921, there were approximately 480 suppliers of authorized electricity in the countries of England and Wales. These stations were upgraded from their previous counterparts to hold a much larger variety of voltages and various frequencies.
In 1926, the Electrical Supply Act, as per recommendations of the Weir Committee and following past precedent, created the Central Electricity Board. This Central Electricity Board’s goal was to establish and maintain what is known as a “gridiron” transmission system, which would link the largest and most highly efficient power stations through the United Kingdom. It would also supply power to any existing undertakings which were already underway.
By the year 1936 the expansion of the power stations had become quite necessary and so painstaking plans were put forth and a new generating hall was built at Commercial Road. One of the most successful side effects of the growing trend of electricity supplies through the United Kingdom was that industry as a whole was being promoted and greatly increasing. Yet, still, things were fairly primitive as seen in the eyes of the man of today, as most industries were still relying on their own gas or oil engines for power. For the most part they only used the new system of vast generators and electrical systems for lighting and lighting alone!
Fast forward several years, to 1957 and the Electricity Act was put into place, creating the two statutory establishments known respectively as the Central Electricity Generating Board and the Electricity Council. For the most part, the Central Electricity Generating Board produced by far the majority of the electricity generated in England and Wales. It also served various other functions, such as owning and operating the transmission system and selling electricity to the 12 Area Boards. The Electricity Council for the most part played a coordinating and communicative role with the ESI.