Press Ball 2012: Full power ahead

ELECTRICITY is fundamental to our daily lives.

We take it for granted when it’s there and only realise how many different aspects of our normal routine are totally reliant on electricity when it’s taken away.

Fortunately in the UK we have a robust electricity network and power failures are sufficiently rare that they are nearly always newsworthy when they happen!

UK Power Networks, a major sponsor of the Press Ball, is the company which owns, maintains and improves the 88,000 kilometres of overhead lines and underground cables in the East of England– enough to go more than twice around the Earth – that bring electricity from the national grid to individual properties.

This is the second year that UK Power Networks, which came into being in 2010 when EDF Energy sold off its networks business, has sponsored the Press Ball.

Matt Rudling, director of customer services, said: “UK Power Networks is involved with every community across Suffolk by providing the means to supply their electricity.

“Supporting the Press Ball, which has done such a fantastic job over the years raising funds for good causes, is an extra way that we can give something back to the communities where our staff and customers live and work.”

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UK Power Networks is also responsible for the networks of cables and substations which deliver power to customers in London and the South East, powering a quarter of Britain’s population.

Its office in Fore Hamlet, Ipswich, is integral to this as it is here that its call centre is based, taking customer enquiries from all three networks.

It is also here that its team of dispatchers, who control the workforce on the ground who respond to any incident, are based.

Whenever a fault occurs, a first response engineer will be dispatched to assess the situation and help determine the requirements necessary to fix the fault, whether it be a team of underground cable jointers or overhead linesmen.

Meanwhile, power will be restored to as many customers as possible by switching the route of their electrical supplies to bypass the fault, something which can increasingly be done from a distance with computers.

Mr Rudling added: “Our engineers go out in all weathers and at all times to fix any fault as quickly as safely possible and their work is often not appreciated.

“However, it was lovely to get recognition for this in the Ipswich Star’s front page piece on January 6 ‘Hail Suffolk’s Gales Force’ after our engineers worked round the clock to restore power supplies after network damage in the January storms.”

If you are unfortunate enough to have a power cut, call UK Power Networks free power cut helpline on 0800 7838838 or text ‘power cut’ followed by your postcode to 80871 to register for text updates about progress to restore supplies.