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Portland Gas Works

The Portland Gas Co. was formed in 1863 with a capital of 4,000 to take over the Portland Gas Works from the then proprietors. In 1874 (February) by special resolution the company was ordered to be wound up voluntarily and Sir Richard N. Howard was appointed liquidator. In May of the same year the liquidator's accounts were passed and the Company dissolved, and the Gas Works became vested in Sir R. N. Howard who afterwards carried them on as at private concern. By the Portland Urban District (Gas, etc.) Act, 1900 the Urban District Council acquired power to purchase the gas undertaking from Sir R. N. Howard for 28,656. Additional power was conferred upon the Council to borrow 7,500 for extensions and improvement. 2,500 for working capital, and a loan for the Parliamentary costs ; and with the approval of the Local Government Board such further funds as the Council may require for the undertaking. The loans directly authorised by the Act are to be repaid in 40 years. Any deficiency (Section 50) in the revenue of the gas undertaking must be made good out of the general district rate made next., or next, but one, after such deficiency is ascertained. The Council cannot charge more than 5s per 1,000 cubic for gas supplied by meter, and the candle power must not be less than 15. The Act received the Royal assent on June 30th, 1900. The purchase was completed on October 1st, 1900, on which date the Council entered into possession of the works.

Mr W. A. Valon, who was the expert called in to advise the Council and to value the concern, prepared a statement of the profits for the year ended September 13, 1899, showing that the gross income was 3,826 and the gross expenditure 2,388, leaving a profit of 1,437. The Valon estimated that with money borrowed for 40 years the Council ought to be able to show a balance on the right side of over 500, after paying interest and sinking fund on loan expenditure.

The first year of the Council's management of the concern was reported to have shown a profit, but the accounts for the year ended March 31 1903, returned a deficit of 452. Mr Valon was called in to inspect the work and advise the Council. On March 31, 1904, Mr Whitaker resigned the post of works manager and Mr J. Hansford succeeded him. For the half-year ended September 30, 1904, the loss on the revenue account was considerably less though there was still a failure to make the works pay. The first instalment (300) of the Gas Parliamentary costs (900) was put in the General District rate made in September (1901). The Gas Committee has (1905) called in Mr Woodall of the Bournemouth Gas Works to advise then on the condition of the works. He is said to have expressed the opinion that the concern ought to make a profit of 1,000 a year. The capital sunk in the undertaking on September 30, 1904, was 42,296. Repayments of principal and interest on the loan account were 1,744 last year.

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