Industry: water, steel & energy

Vey, Peter (13 of 14). An Oral History of the Electricity Supply in the UK

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  • Recording date

    2016-01-28, 2016-02-19, 2016-04-04, 2016-04-18, 2016-05-10, 2016-05-20

  • Interviewees

    Vey, Peter, 1949- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 13: Remarks on privatisation period: incredibly busy; split of CEGB staff between different new companies; Diana Long becoming director of publicity at Power Gen; privatisation freeing promising staff to develop careers; difficult decisions splitting staff; PV assuming he would move to National Power due to close work with John Baker; change in emphasis of work toward promoting new companies; anecdote about Power Gen publicity coup in sponsoring the weather on television, to chagrin of PV. [06:00] Remarks on National Power publicity: limits to how much could be sent on advertising by new companies until break up of CEGB; PV promoting National Power as a big, strong, responsible company; mentions linking of National Power to National Trust in advertising; advertising linking National Power with its major customers, such as Wembley Stadium when National Power sponsored European Cup coverage; acid rain and nuclear no longer issues for National Power public relations; environmental issues and education less of a priority than at CEGB; name recognition becoming major priority; [10:50] anecdote about John Baker refusal to duck media questions on salary, unlike other companies' CEOs, and subsequent press attention; 1990s 'fat cats' media furore, company defence that executives had more pressures and responsibilities; PV already used to larger private sector salaries, too close to retirement to benefit from privatisation. [13:40] Remarks on working at National Power: new private sector board members wanting narrower and more cost conscious approach to publicity; new manager responsible for relations with City, under financial director Brian Birkenhead, having a role that clashed with PV's; cost consciousness a major priority, move of National Power offices from London to Swindon; internal publicity cut back, 'Power News' replaced by bad internal newspapers; [18:40] tensions between other managers over competition for roles; media treating Nation Power little differently from CEGB; close relationship with Daily Telegraph and Financial Times; new National Power offices, differences from Paternoster; [23:00] Remarks on: PV stroke in 1991 leading to him working part time until retirement in 1992; PV unhappy last year at National Power, looking forward to retirement; hating retirement at first, missing the challenge and the people, until he adjusted; outline of commute to work in morning; National Power rivalry with Power Gen, Power Gen more cost conscious; [23:10] removal of National Power nuclear assets over privatisation period, loss of interesting element of work; PV not enjoying work for National Power as much as CEGB, work less wide ranging, fewer issues to provide interest to work on, loss of international nuclear relations.

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