01 Mar 2024

North West Utility

Influential group of MPs visit North West power network operator

Ian Smyth, centre, with members of the ESNZ committee

Electricity North West has showcased its innovative technology and future investment plans to a prominent group of MPs from around the country.  

The North West’s power network operator welcomed members of parliament’s Energy Security and Net Zero (ESNZ) committee to its offices and control room.  

As part of the visit, members of the group, which included chair Angus MacNeil MP and Preston’s Mark Hendrick MP, were shown how the company is enabling economic growth and the increase in electricity use for heating and transport through innovation and technology.  

Ian Smyth, Electricity North West’s chief executive, said: “We’re proud to be selected for a visit by the committee to showcase the cutting-edge technology and innovation we have on our network serving the North West. 

“Providing a safe, reliable and cost-effective network to meet sustainability targets is the focus of our ongoing £2bn investment plan and we’re keen to share what we’re doing so others can learn from our best practice. 

“As the region moves to more low-carbon sources of energy the electrification of transport, equipment and heating will accelerate at pace. 

“Investment in our network alongside making the best use of new technology will ensure the network performs most efficiently and effectively for our customers.” 

During the meeting, Electricity North West highlighted two of its innovation projects which are successfully being rolled out across the North West and called on other network operators to follow suit.  

CLASS is a proven concept which has shown that innovative voltage control can reduce demand for electricity providing a low cost, low carbon balancing service to National Grid. If rolled out across Great Britain, it could save customers £1bn by 2050. Electricity North West’s other flagship innovation, Smart Street, can save customers up to eight per cent off their total electricity bill with no behavioral change, as the technology stabilises voltage on local networks making devices perform more efficiently.  

The ESNZ committee scrutinises the policy, spending and administration of the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and its public bodies, including Ofgem and the Committee on Climate change.  

As well as Angus MacNeil and Mark Hendrick, other MPs in attendance were Mark Garnier, MP for Wyre Forest, MP for Brighton Kemptown Lloyd-Russell Moyle and Mark Pawsey, MP for Rugby and Bulkington.  

“It was fascinating to visit Electricity North West and see firsthand how new technologies are helping to balance voltage, with the ultimate aim of reducing demand and saving customers cash,” said Angus MacNeil. 

“Our committee is exploring the role that such digital innovation could play in securing a more flexible grid for the future and our experience in the control rooms will be invaluable when we come to make our recommendations to the Government.”