chapter  12
19 Pages

State Enterprise in British Electricity Supply: An Economic Success?


Electricity supply was at the center of state enterprise activity in Britain in the 20th century. The national transmission grid was developed and owned from 1926 by the Central Electricity Board which was, ignoring the Post Offi ce, the fi rst nationwide infrastructure industry to be owned by the state. Generating and distributing enterprises were taken over as part of the 1947 nationalization under the umbrella of the British Electricity Authority. Then, at the end of the 1980s, it was the fi rst giant utility where privatization was accompanied by a major restructuring of the industry. Generation, transmission, distribution, and retailing were vertically disintegrated and regulated by independent agencies: the Offi ce of Electricity Regulation and the Offi ce of Gas and Electricity Markets.