Over 150 power workers who have clocked up over four or five decades in the industry have had their dedicated service recognised by UK Power Networks.
The company, which delivers electricity to eight million customers across East Anglia, London and the South East rewarded staff who have given more than 40 years of continuous service at special 40+ Club celebrations recently.
Among those honoured was John Bennett, from Chelmsford, who is usually one of the first on the scene of a major power cut, having been a ‘first responder’ engineer for 21 of his 40 years in the industry. He joined the company as an apprentice linesman aged 16 in Harold Hill.
John said: “The working methods have changed over the years, mostly for the better, but the basic job on the whole is roughly the same.
“I still work with great colleagues - including my son Craig, who is a linesman in Chelmsford, and my twin brother Peter, who is a network planner in Purfleet.”
Tony Goward, a lead field engineer who lives and works in the Harlow area, started his career as a 15-year-old apprentice in Harlow where he qualified as a jointer. Since then he has been a foreman, led on major projects including drilling 1km under the River Crouch, before becoming a lead field engineer seven years ago.
Tony said: “The job has bought many challenges which I have enjoyed, and dealing with people is great and keeps you going.
“I have seen many changes over the years, but keeping the lights on is the main reason we are here and I get great satisfaction in doing that – even in the middle of the night.”
Basil Scarsella, chief executive at UK Power Networks, said: “I’m proud to have such loyal and committed staff who have given years of continuous service to their local communities and the electricity distribution industry. Their knowledge and experience is first-class.
“That’s why we created the 40+ Club in 2012 to thank them for their excellent contribution in keeping the lights on. It is vital work that usually goes unseen and they thoroughly deserve our recognition.”
There are currently over 400 employees in the 40+ Club at UK Power Networks, a company named as a top 25 Best Big Companies to Work in 2015 and 2016 partly due to its industry-leading staff development and engagement initiatives.
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