Electricity Act 1989

The Electricity Act 1989 received Royal Assent on 27 July 1989. The long title of the Act is ‘An Act to provide for the appointment and functions of a Director General of Electricity Supply and of consumers' committees for the electricity supply industry; to make new provision with respect to the supply of electricity through electric lines and the generation and transmission of electricity for such supply; to abolish the Electricity Consumers' Council and the Consultative Councils established under the Electricity Act 1947; to provide for the vesting of the property, rights and liabilities of the Electricity Boards and the Electricity Council in companies nominated by the Secretary of State and the subsequent dissolution of those Boards and that Council; to provide for the giving of financial assistance in connection with the storage and reprocessing of nuclear fuel, the treatment, storage and disposal of radioactive waste and the decommissioning of nuclear installations; to amend the Rights of Entry (Gas and Electricity Boards) Act 1954 and the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973; and for connected purposes’.

The provisions of the Act comprise 113 Sections in three parts, plus 18 Schedules

Introductory – Sections 1 to 3 – including the establishment of the Director General of Electricity Supply; Consumer's Committees; and general duties of the Secretary of State and the Director

Licensing of supply etc. – Sections 4 to 10 – including prohibition of unlicensed supply; licences authorising supply; conditions of licences; general duties and powers of licence holders

Modification of licenses – Sections 11 to 15 – modification by agreement; Monopolies Commission; reports; and by order

Supply by public electricity suppliers – Sections 16 to 24 – duty to supply; exceptions; power to recover charges, expenditure and to require security; terms of supply; agreements; disputes; electricity supply code

Enforcement of provisions – Sections 25 to 28 – orders; procedures; validity; power to require information

Provisions with respect to supply – Sections 29 to 31 – regulations; inspectors; meters

Protection of public interest – Sections 32 to 38 – non-fossil fuels; levy; fuel stocks; consent to construct; overhead lines; amenity and fisheries

Consumer protection – Sections 39 to 42 – performance; efficient use; information on performance

Consumer protection – Sections 43 to 44 – competition; maximum charges

Investigation of complaints – Sections 45 and 46 – enforcement and other matters

Other functions of Director – Sections 47 to 50 – general; publication of information; register; annual reports

Provisions with respect to Committees – Sections 51 to 53 – duties; reports; National Committee

Provisions with respect to Consumers’ etc. Councils – Sections 54 to 56 – Abolition; compensation; continuity of employment

Miscellaneous – Sections 57 to 59 – disclosure; restricting information; false statements

Supplemental – Sections 60 to 64 – power to make regulations; public inquiries; Crown land; interpretation

The 1989 Act does not apply to Northern Ireland. is the electricity asset owner of the transmission and distribution infrastructure in Northern Ireland, it was established in 1993 when the business was privatised.

The 1989 Act repealed the Electric Lighting Acts dating from 1882, the Electricity (Supply) Acts 1919 and 1926, the Electricity Acts 1947, 1957 and 1972.

The Energy Act 2008 established a renewables obligation for generating electricity from renewable sources; made provisions for the decommissioning and clean-up of nuclear sites; and the provision of smart meters.