Winter Power Shortages

From Historical Hastings

During the winters of 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951, there was insufficient power generation capacity to meet demand at peak times. As a result of this, rotating 'load shedding' took place where if needed certain neighbourhoods would have their power cut off on specified days during times of peak demand. If this measure did not reduce load sufficiently, power cuts were anticipated for complete towns and villages. It was stated that should the local electricity board receive the message 'Target Operation', then load shedding would commence immediately.[1]

The specific days were published in the The Hastings & St Leonards Observer with peak times listed as 8am to 10am, 12 noon to 1pm and 4pm to 6pm. Editorials of the period recommended power-saving measures such as utilising different fuels for heating and light, together with undertaking tasks that created a huge power demand out of peak times.

Publicity and advice

In addition to the publication of cut-off days and areas in the local papers, there was appointment of Area Electricity Peak Economy Committees. These produced leaflets and gave advice as to how best residents could save power. The advice given included tips such as the following;[2]

  • Using Pressure Cookers
  • Hoovering outside of peak hours
  • Cooking breakfast before 8am
  • Replacing light bulbs with dimmer ones
  • Ensuring timers are set on heating and boilers

The local electricity showrooms at York Buildings was signposted as one of the key drop-in centres for advice.[2]

References & Notes

  1. Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 01 November 1947 pg. 5
  2. a b Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 08 December 1951 pg. 6