Industry: water, steel & energy

Camsey, Granville (14 of 16). An Oral History of the Electricity Supply in the UK

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  • Recording date

    2013-04-18, 2013-05-02, 2013-09-26, 2013-10-22, 2013-12-10, 2014-01-14, 2014-01-28, 2014-03-17, 2014-04-15

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Buckinghamshire

  • Interviewees

    Camsey, Granville, 1936- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 14: Comments on move to Hong Kong as CEO-elect of China Light and Power [CL&P]: background of British ESI in development of Hong Kong electricity system; Electricity Council Deputy-Chairman John Jukes contact with CL&P principle owners, the Kadoorie family; powerful status of affluent Kadoorie family; GC meeting with Lord Kadoorie at Conught Hotel; GC allocated mansion in Kadoorie Avenue; initially staying at Kadoorie owned Peninsula Hotel; anecdote about Lord Kadooire purchasing a set of Roll-Royce cars for Peninsula Hotel; anecdote about Lord Kadooire purchase of a power station;[05:20] GC first experience of shareholder owned company; GC taking advice from English-Electric manager Bob Davidson and Babcock & Wilcock chairman John King, who had supplied equipment for Castle Peak B power station; anecdote about GC discovering that CL&P paid much lower price for plant than CEGB; anecdote about vintage chauffeur driven Westminster car, eventually replaced with a Mercedes. [08:12] Remarks on first board meeting and board members: Lord Kadoorie; Finance Director [& Deputy Chairman] Sir Sydney Gordan, anecdote about commonality of Scottish accountants overseas; Y Pi, whose connections to Chinese community were valuable; Exxon company investing in CL&P after 1970s capacity issues, with arrangements to guarantee investors a 15% rate of return on investment, anecdote about expensive equipment in power stations, anecdote about advising British minister John Wakeham to follow model of CL&P; Exxon representative, Irish engineer Michael Clancy. [13:03] Remarks on company Mansion assigned to GC: anecdote about company secretary John Lee recommending an incredibly efficient Kadooire owned carpet installer; anecdote about consensus approach of Chinese labourers, the necessity for precise instruction of labourers, and the installation of an electricity socket in GC home. [18:00] Remarks on CL&P: provision of meals for poor blue-collar staff; process for bringing more Chinese graduates onto staff; GC difficulties with existing CL&P CEO, GC realising he had placed himself in a bad position; CEO's difficult characteristics; support for GC from colleagues; outline of difficulties CEO placed GC in; [23:00] GC meeting with board member over CEO problems; can-do nature of CL&P; rapid program of system expansion to match rapid housing construction and other developments; Castle Peak B built on reclaimed land, similar to Lantow airport; Trafalgar House construction of bridge to airport; anecdote about GC difficulty adapting to being a big fish in a small pool, CL&P work less challenging than GC expected

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