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A decade of investment and innovation halves power cuts

Ten years of investment and innovation have halved power cuts across London, the South East and East of England, announced UK Power Networks as the company celebrated its tenth anniversary this week.

From Press releases - 28 October 2020 12:00 AM

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Investment and innovation in the electricity networks since 2010 means that on average, a customer now experiences a power interruption once every three years, compared to once every 18 months in 2010/11. The company has also reduced the duration of power cuts by 56% so a customer is without power for less than half an hour on average, compared to 64 minutes in 2010.

Significant investments in remote technology mean the majority of power supplies can be restored quickly and automatically, without engineers travelling to local substations to restore supplies.

The company has also transformed customer service with an average customer rating of 9.2 out of ten, and five stars on Trustpilot. It provides free extra help and support during power cuts to  1.8million households in vulnerable circumstances on its Priority Services Register.

In Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks the company removes overhead lines to improve countryside views. Under this scheme, it has undergrounded 95km of power lines in the East and South East since 2010.

A highlight of the decade was building and running a new electricity network to successfully power the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. UK Power Networks has been named Utility of the Year three times since 2012, plus Network of the Year, and last year it also won the prestigious Edison International Award for innovation work.

For the anniversary, UK Power Networks is giving its 6,200 staff a commemorative book and is making a celebration video.  

Basil Scarsella, chief executive of UK Power Networks, said: “Over the past ten years, our objective every day has been the same: to ensure our staff and customers stay safe around electricity and to keep the lights on and the power flowing.

“The improvements made in terms of power cuts and so many other areas of the business, such as customer service, innovation and safety, are down to our employees’ commitment to get it right first time every time, for the communities we serve.

“Today marks our first ten years, but it is the next decade which excites me now. I have never seen the rate of change that we have now and I think it’s a great time to be involved in the electricity industry. I see the move towards net zero as one of huge opportunity and, as an organisation, while we want to always celebrate our past, the real focus is always on the future and what we can do to evolve and continually improve.”

The company invests more than £600 million in its networks each year and is gearing up for continued growth in the use of electric vehicles, and electric heating.