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Electricity North West awards £400 million of underground construction contracts

Image: Electricity North West.

Image: Electricity North West.

Electricity North West has awarded £400 million worth of contracts, in its largest ever tender for underground construction.

Following a 12 month tender process, contracts have been awarded to Network Plus Services and O’Connor Utilities.

Network Plus Services will cover operations in the northern half of the Electricity North West operating area, this covers both Cumbria and Lancashire where it already operates. O’Conner will take over the south from Excalon, this includes Greater Manchester and the surrounding area.

Both contracts will start on the 1 April 2020 and last for eight years.

Peter Emery, chief executive at Electricity North West, said: “This is a crucial time for the North West’s power network. We expect electricity usage to significantly increase as we move towards a decarbonised economy. That means more electricity flowing through our network being fed in from more and more renewable sources, powering electric vehicles and the homes of the future.

“Getting the right contractors at the right price is vital for the network and all our customers. I look forward to working alongside both companies as we continue to upgrade the region’s power network to keep the North West running.”

Electricity North West’s network covers 44,000km of underground electricity cables. The company is currently working to update it, and intends to invest £1.9bn between 2015 and 2023.

The company committed to switching all the electricity powering its sites to renewables in December, in an effort to lead by example with regards to transitioning to net zero. In a further effort to improve its network, it announced that it will rollout voltage control devices at its substations to optimise its network, reducing consumer bills and freeing capacity.

It is currently undergoing a change in ownership, following a 50% sale in July, and a second 50% sale to a consortium at the end of 2019. Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power, infrastructure investor Equitix and Hong Kong-based investor CNIC have now taken full control of the firm after it acquired the outstanding of shares in it.

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