Timeline of the UK electricity supply industry

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The following is a list of major events in the history of the United Kingdom's electricity supply industry.

Year Event
1882 The Electric Lighting Act 1882 (repealed 1989) — allowed the setting up of supply systems by persons, companies or local authorities.
1888 The Electric Lighting Act 1888 (repealed 1989) — amendment to 1882 Act making the setting up of a supply company easier.
1891 London Electric Supply Corporation (LESCo) opened Deptford Power Station, UK's first AC power system, designed by Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti.
1899 The Electric Lighting (Clauses) Act 1899 (repealed 1989)
1901 Newcastle upon Tyne Electric Supply Company (NESCo) opened Neptune Bank Power Station, the first in the UK to supply three-phase electric power.
1909 The Electric Lighting Act 1909 (repealed 1989). Regulated planning consent for building power stations.
1919 Williamson Report and Birchenough Report leads to the Electricity (Supply) Act 1919[1](repealed 1989). Established Electricity Commission[citation needed] and appointed Electricity Commissioners
1922 The Electricity (Supply) Act 1922 (repealed 1989)
1926 Weir Report leads to the Electricity (Supply) Act 1926 (repealed 1989) — created Central Electricity Board and the National Grid operating at 132 kV (50 Hz)
1933 The 132 kV National Grid started operating as interconnected set of regional grids.
1936 The Electricity Supply (Meters) Act 1936 (repealed 1989)
1938 The 132 kV National Grid became integrated.
1943 The Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Act 1943 (repealed 1989)
1947 The Electricity Act 1947 (repealed 1989). It merged 625 electricity companies to be vested in twelve area electricity boards and the generation and 132 kV National Grid were vested with the British Electricity Authority.
1954 The Electricity Reorganisation (Scotland) Act 1954 (repealed 1989)
1955 British Electricity Authority becomes the Central Electricity Authority. The Scottish area boards are merged into South of Scotland Electricity Board and the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board.
1957 The Electricity Act 1957 (repealed 1989). The Central Electricity Authority was dissolved and replaced by Central Electricity Generating Board and the Electricity Council.
1958 The new chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board Christopher Hinton, Baron Hinton of Bankside begins the procurement of the new 2000 MW power stations and 400kV grid system known as the Hinton Heavies
1961 The Electricity (Amendment) Act 1961 (repealed 1989)
1963 The Electricity and Gas Act 1963 (repealed 1989)
1965 Introduction of the first phase of the 400kV Supergrid from West Burton power stations, Nottinghamshire to Sundon in Bedfordshire
1968 The Gas and Electricity Act 1968 (repealed 1989)
1969 The first of the new 2000 MW Generating Units are officially opened by the Ministry of Power (United Kingdom) Roy Mason at West Burton power stations
1972 The Electricity Act 1972 (repealed 1989)
1978 Economy 7 introduced.
1979 The Electricity (Scotland) Act 1979 (repealed 1989)
1983 The Energy Act 1983 — allowing small scale private generators.[2]
1988 UK accepts EC’s Large Combustion Plant Directive to address environmental damage from acid rain.[2]
1989 The Electricity Act 1989 provided for the privatisation of the electricity industry, and introduced the Fossil Fuel Levy to support the nuclear power industry.[2]
1990 Beginning of the privatization of the Central Electricity Generating Board. The assets of the CEGB are broken up into three new companies: Powergen, National Power and National Grid Company. Later, the nuclear component within National Power was removed and vested in another state-owned company called Nuclear Electric.
1991 Scottish industry privatised
1992 Electricity supply in Northern Ireland privatised. Premier Power formed.
1993 Supply industry in Northern Ireland privatised.
1994 Value-added tax (VAT) ay 8% imposed on domestic energy.[2]
1995 Major assets of Nuclear Electric and Scottish Nuclear were merged the UK's eight most advanced nuclear plants, forming a new private company, British Energy.
1997 Pembroke Power Station closes the first of the 500MW Hinton Heavies
2000 The Utilities Act 2000 placed responsibility on generators to allow for connecting distributed energy sources to grid.[clarification needed]
2001 The Central Electricity Generating Board (Dissolution) Order 2001.[3] CEGB formally wound up.
2007 From 1 November Northern Ireland generators must sell their electricity into the Single Electricity Market, an all-island market with the Republic of Ireland from which suppliers purchase electricity at a single market rate.
2009 After becoming the UK's largest electricity generation company, British Energy is bought by Électricité de France (EDF), a state owned company.[4]
2012 Kingsnorth Power Station ceases generation on the 17 December 2012 the next Hinton Heavy to face closure
2013 Didcot Power Station ceases generation on the 22 March 2013
2013 Fawley Power Station closes on the 31 March 2013
2015 Ironbridge Power Station is switched off on the 20 November 2015
2016 Ferrybridge Power Station closes on the 31 March 2016
2016 Rugeley Power Station closes
2018 Eggborough Power Station stops generating on the 23 March 2018 the latest of the Hinton Heavies to face closure

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Page 41 "Electricity Supply in the UK: A chronology"The Electricity Council, 1987, ISBN 0-85188-105-X
  2. ^ a b c d Peter Pearson; Jim Watson (2012). UK Energy Policy 1980-2010 (PDF) (Report). The Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies. ISBN 978-1-84919-580-5. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  3. ^ Central Electricity Generating Board (Dissolution) Order (2001)
  4. ^ "Électricité de France agrees to pay $23 billion for British Energy". 24 September 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2018 – via NYTimes.com.