We caught up with Antony White, Client Delivery Manager - ICP, on the business of connecting residential developments, commercial properties and industrial clients to the electricity network and how the industry has changed in the last 30 years.
1. Tell us about yourself and your experience with ICP
I’ve worked within the electricity industry for almost 30 years, since completing an apprenticeship in the early ‘90’s and working through a variety of operational and management roles. I’ve spent a lot of time working with clients and key industry stakeholders developing processes, and implementing improvement initiatives. Most recently I have been supporting the development of the competitive connections market working with ICPs and IDNOs. I now work with the unregulated team in UK Power Network Services supporting the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy through the delivery of critical energy solutions with my specific focus being on the connection of new developments, new technologies and critical infrastructure to the electricity network.
2. How has the ICP industry evolved during your career?
The industry has evolved significantly over the last thirty years. Particularly with the introduction of competition in the connections market, clients now have increased choice and a variety of options to meet their ever changing requirements. Connecting renewable energy assets, as well as those to provide more traditional demand supplies, means a greater opportunity to offer a bespoke end to end service tailored to our clients’ needs. While the core principles remain constant, diverse operating environments, evolving standards, as well as advances in technology and innovation, make working in the construction industry a varied and exciting place to be.
3. With the electrification of industries picking up pace, what do you think companies need to look out for when connecting their energy networks?
Clients no longer simply want a new connection to the electricity network. There is an increasing interest in the provision of an end to end service from initial concept design, energy advice and tailoring through to connection and maintenance of critical assets. This will become increasingly important as natural gas supplies cease and electricity demand is increased to power not only our homes and offices but also the vehicles we drive and commute to work in. Clients need confidence that the proposals they are receiving provide an optimum solution whilst also considering future requirements. We have the experience and knowledge to discuss alternative options with clients to offer the solution that best meets their requirements.
4. You mentioned that electricity is an ‘invisible necessity’. Tell us more about that.
The cost of connection for a new development can be small compared to the total cost of the development with the installation of a substation and associated infrastructure being a secondary thought compared to the architecture and design of a new building project. For projects with a much larger electricity demand significant infrastructure installation is generally under the highway and any onsite assets are designed to be at an ‘out of sight’ location or within a purpose built facility. Increasingly, the dependency on a resilient electricity supply at the right time in the planning and construction of a new development is absolutely critical. Substations are underground and behind closed doors, assets are hidden and unseen but without these essential assets, and a connection to the electricity network, the development would not be complete.
5. What are clients looking for in an independent connections provider?
Clients look for safe, reliable, agile, responsive and experienced partners to work with. I think the main qualities that attract a client to working with us as an ICP are our exceptional safety record, that is built on our strong safety culture, our experience and knowledge of the industry and assurance of delivery either as a result of our track record in successfully delivering projects for, and working with, high profile established clients or through our highly skilled, dedicated and committed teams many of whom have grown within the industry and understand the needs of our clients and importance to deliver exceptional service, safely.
Find out how we can provide you with a safe, reliable and cost effective connection.