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Regional electricity board companies

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  • Regional electricity board companies

    "Shop electric, get a good-good deal, from your electricity board shop", so went the tune in the early 1980s Electricity Board adverts - I assume that they were an umbrella group which represented all the regional electricity companies in Great Britain courtesy of the Electricity Act 1945. And then by the early 1990s, Nick Park's Aardman Aminations (home of Wallace and Gromit, not to mention Morph) used their Creature Comforts characters to indicate how warm or cold animals felt in their own habitat, such as the leopard up a tree saying how hot it was, and then the Johnny Morris voiceover at the end. I assume that it was the mid to late 1990s when it was wound up? - along with the Electricity Council (or was it the Electricity Association?) I do know that most towns and cities had an electricity board shop, and most of them closed down during the latter half of the 1990s. (I might be confusing these with the Gas Showroom shops in the familiar places as well). Certainly when British Gas used to do electricity as well as gas, I think that the monopoly of regional companies was close to an end.

    But what about the regional electricity board companies, then? East Midlands Electricity was the one in my neck of the woods, and its "E" with a plug inserted into it logo, (which I used think was more like a magnet or something), and was modified in around late 1987 to a long line travelling from it. The electricity bills that were for my home always had the EME logo on them, and my late father kept years of quarterly bills for January, April, July and October each year, from the mid 1970s when one had the total of just £5.00 up until the mid 1990s when it was close to £100.00. East Midlands Electricity was advertised in the late 1980s and early 1990s by none other than Brian Clough, still managing Nottingham Forest, but still keeping an acting portfolio for both the local electricity board and also advertising Shredded Wheat, and his Sun newspaper columns making him a millionaire. When Clough retired from Forest in 1993, he retired from advertising as well, and Victoria Wood of all people was seen advertising EME, with rubber duck in a bath, proving to the public how much a tank of hot water could be cheap for one night.

    I know that MEB (the Midlands Electricity Board) also used to advertise in the Central region when advertising from Birmingham was transmitted all over the region including the East Midlands - "MEB, we're switched on for you", sung twice, was the advertising jingle. The London Electricity Board (LEB)'s finest hour was in around 1984 when they were close to cutting off TV-am's power supply minutes before they were to go on the air, and Chairman Greg Dyke paid the LEB a massive cheque which was later rumoured to bounce. The Welsh Electricity Board adopted cartoon character SuperTed as its mascot, and I am certain the some other regional companies did the same as well. Yorkshire Electricity sponsored the Yorkshire Calendar Weather after Legal and General did it in most ITV regions.

    Other companies included SEEBOARD which served "just outside LEB" areas like Kent, Surrey and Sussex, methinks, and the customers in their patch probably felt the biggest brunt more than any other electricity region during the Great Storm of 1987 when powerlines were down and people were without electricity in their homes, and even without people in the storm. I also think of SEEBOARD when I think of the Crimewatch UK reconstruction from around 1987-1988 when a delivery driver for one of their electricity board shops at the time had his van hijacked in Kent, tied up in the back of van, made to remove his trousers, while the thieves tried to get away with thousands of pounds in white goods and electronic goods. SWEB served Devon and Cornwall, while NEEB served the Tyneside and Wearside areas. There was Manweb that served Manchester, while Norweb served the North West - I would have thought that Norweb would have served Manchester as well?

    And then in the early 2000s we had a consumer choice of which company we would like to provide our gas and electricity with - I thought that Southern Electric was based in the south of England, but they were based in Scotland curiously. I seemed to be with them along with half a dozen others (because they seemed to harass you into signing up, cold door stepping me), until British Gas came to my rescue. Thank goodness those days seem to be gone and that Watchdog and other outlets have made these antics a little more public. Sometimes I wish that we could see the old electricity board shops on our Hight Streets and shopping centres once again - where else would you get good bargains on microwave ovens and storage heaters? We still have regional water companies such as Severn Trent Water which don't match the regional areas as its electricity counterparts did, but I assume that it will be a matter of time that they will be eventually replaced by some national service a la British Gas or BT.

    One don't get quite the excitement with British Gas, even though they also had regional versions such as EM GAS (East Midlands) - it almost made British electricity feel exotic in many ways.




    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
    I'm having so much fun
    My lucky number's one
    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

  • #2
    Manweb was the Merseyside & North Wales Electricity Board. Often they would have joint adverts with Norweb, which did cover Manchester.

    Norweb had a large showroom in Stockport, which became a Scottish Power when they took over Norweb, then it became Power House for a while before closing & becoming something else.
    The Trickster On The Roof

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    • #3
      So I assume that Wales were served by two electricity board companies with the main one serving South Wales? I believe that Scotland also had a Highland and Lowland (including Glasgow and Edinburgh) company as well.

      I believe that East Midlands Electricity and MEB often had joint ads in the Central region, while EME and Yorkshire Electricity used to in the YTV region - the early 1990s adverts which often had electricity company logos over a "nighttime" map at the end of them used to have different logos depending on where you lived and which ITV company you were tuned to.

      I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
      There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
      I'm having so much fun
      My lucky number's one
      Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

      Comment


      • #4
        Were meter readers also employed by local electricity companies at the time, I wonder?
        I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
        There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
        I'm having so much fun
        My lucky number's one
        Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by George 1978 View Post
          So I assume that Wales were served by two electricity board companies with the main one serving South Wales? I believe that Scotland also had a Highland and Lowland (including Glasgow and Edinburgh) company as well.

          I believe that East Midlands Electricity and MEB often had joint ads in the Central region, while EME and Yorkshire Electricity used to in the YTV region - the early 1990s adverts which often had electricity company logos over a "nighttime" map at the end of them used to have different logos depending on where you lived and which ITV company you were tuned to.


          was South Wales Electricity,its now SWALEC.

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          • #6
            Old never get my head around the monopoly game calling it the electricity “company” and water “works” when the actual companies were titled as “boards”

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by George 1978 View Post
              Were meter readers also employed by local electricity companies at the time, I wonder?
              I think so, I remember using an employment agency 20 years ago which used the same office space as Norweb. There was often a few cash meters dotted around the corridors.
              The Trickster On The Roof

              Comment


              • #8
                Fawley power station had an open day in the summer of 1989 but almost nothing is mentioned about the event on the internet. I only know about it because a friend attended the event and picked up some brochures and publicity materials. I will ask him to scan them when he finds time...

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