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State Enterprise in British Electricity Supply

An Economic Success?

Robert Millward

INTRODUCTION

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 Office, the first 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 first giant utility where privatization was accompanied by a major restructuring of the industry. Generation, transmission, distribution, and retailing were ...

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