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A Spotlight on our own West End cast

Posted on 5 August 2015 03:53 PM by smile2p

A year ago, UK Power Networks opened our brand new Central London hub based in the heart of the West End. This was a key element of our London Business Plan, and I was very fortunate to have been appointed as the manager of this new team.

As a Londoner, I know the importance of this area and it is a big responsibility that we as a company have been given to ensure it has the power it needs.

London is a 24-hour city, and its power supply simply has to sustain that. We are very proud of our place in ensuring the capital has the most reliable power supply in the country, and that it enjoys a 99.99% reliability rate.

No matter how rare they are though, faults can occasionally occur, and when they do it is vital that we respond as quickly as possible. Nowhere is this more important than in central London as the home of so many crucial businesses and venues: from international company HQs, to West End theatres and major tourist attractions, to Government departments.

Ready to respond at a moment’s notice
Before our special hub was created, outside office hours engineers responded to incidents straight from home. It is now proving much quicker to send dedicated staff from our Covent Garden Hub, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and there is always a team of engineers on site, ready to respond at a moment’s notice to any incidents in the area.

Since the Hub opened, we have achieved a 16% reduction in the average time it takes us to get to incident sites, and a 24% reduction in the time it takes us to restore customers’ power in the rare event of a power cut.

Never was this put to the test in more challenging circumstances than during the major underground fire at Kingsway in April. This was the most extensive repair job in the five years of UK Power Networks’ existence, and it put our resources to the ultimate test. Because of our Hub, we had fleets of engineers on site within just a few minutes of the incident occurring.

This helped us to asses, along with the authorities and other utilities involved, exactly what was going on, what the damage was, and start making the urgent repairs needed to get that crucial part of the capital back working. Our ability to respond so quickly was a vital part of our successful response to what was a highly complicated and dramatic incident.

Making sure our customers receive the best possible service
In addition to the operational improvements that have been made possible by the new Hub, our Central London customer liaison team and local customer champions have made a huge difference in making sure West End customers are given all the information and assistance they need. They have been a vital part of our response to Kingsway and other incidents over the past year, being among the first on the scene to talk to customers, updating and reassuring members of the public.

And that, ultimately, is what it is all about - making sure that our customers receive the best possible service. Most of the time people are unaware of the scale of the work that goes on behind the scenes to keep central London’s lights on, and in some ways that anonymity is the best compliment we can get. But on the rare occasion that there is a problem, it’s our job to respond quickly and efficiently. So next time you visit central London, either for business or pleasure, we will be proud to be the team meeting your power needs.

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