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MP meets the face of electricity – past, present and future

Crawley MP Henry Smith went behind the scenes at an electricity substation that keeps the lights on for thousands of people in his constituency.

From Press releases - 16 November 2018 12:00 AM

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Mr Smith joined engineers from UK Power Networks at a substation that provides electricity to local homes, businesses and schools, and glimpsed the pylon where Three Bridges Forum plans to honour the 20th century electrical engineer, Dame Caroline Haslett. 

Born in Three Bridges in 1895, Dame Caroline was the first Director of the Electrical Association for Women and a prominent advocate of the role electricity could play in reducing household chores.

Mr Smith met local operations manager, Paul Fisher, whose engineering teams work round the clock to maintain, repair and extend the network that delivers safe, reliable power supplies, and learnt how the network operator is creating a smart, flexible grid to support the changing needs of its customers.

The company is investing £600 million this year to upgrade and maintain its networks as part of £6.6 billion investment during the eight years to 2023. Recent projects in the Crawley area have included a £150,000 project to replace equipment at Three Bridges substation and a £2.8million scheme to replace the power lines on pylons between Three Bridges and Smallfield.

UK Power Networks employs 490 people in the town and Mr Smith’s visit started at Energy House in Hazelwick Avenue, one of the company’s major offices, where he met employees and heard about the company’s investment and innovation work.

Mr Smith said: “I was pleased to hear about the company’s investments in its network to ensure reliable power supplies for local residents. It was also interesting to hear about the role they are playing in enabling low carbon choices, such as electric vehicles.”

Barry Hatton, director of asset management at UK Power Networks, who hosted the visit, said: “The role of the electricity network is changing and we welcomed this opportunity to share with our local MP the variety of work taking place to maintain reliable electricity supplies at the lowest cost to customers while enabling the low carbon transition. Our innovation work was recently recognised internationally when we were ranked third in the world’s first Smart Grid Index, which aims to advance the development of smart grids globally.”