Sussex staff with staying power celebrate 40 years at UK Power Networks

Staff from Worthing, Lancing and Southwick are celebrating long and varied careers with UK Power Networks.

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 3:31 pm

Stephen Hill from Worthing, Graham Boniface from Lancing, and David Young from Southwick have all been in the electricity industry for 40 years.

UK Power Networks, which owns and maintains power supplies in the south east, honoured their long service at a 40+ Club event for employees who have completed four decades of continuous service.

Graham, 64, is a cable jointer who installs substation equipment. He joined the company as a trainee linesman on New Year’s Day 1979.

Accounts team leader Steve Hill, left, and cable jointer Graham Boniface. Picture by Nigel Bowles
Accounts team leader Steve Hill, left, and cable jointer Graham Boniface. Picture by Nigel Bowles

Graham said: “I’ve always enjoyed the challenges of the job. It gives me a buzz restoring customers’ supplies. I get a kick out of getting customers back on supply. It’s a sense of achievement.

“The industry has changed but our aim has never changed and that aim has always been to get people back on supply as quickly as possible.

“The hurricane in 1987 was sad because there was so much damage. I remember an old boy with a 300-year-old oak tree on the floor crying his eyes out. Rural people were very understanding and told us to get them back on supply when we could.”

Accounts team leader Steve, 57, joined the company as a clerk in June 1979, then worked on the IT helpdesk and billing before returning to his roots in accounts.

Data and analytics manager Dave Young. Picture by Nigel Bowles

Steve said: “Job security has been an important factor in my long service. I’ve also enjoyed working for a good manager, which has made my work in accounts the best time of my career.

“I would recommend this industry to young people today because UK Power Networks is a big company with lots of opportunities and a good reputation. It’s up there with the top companies in the UK.”

Data and analytics manager Dave, 56, joined in August 1979 as an apprentice linesman and studied to become an engineer. A major career change beckoned when he switched to a role in IT and data management, supporting strategic decision-making.

Dave said: “We are the information providers to the business, supporting all our operational and regulatory reporting. What has kept me interested in the job over 40 years is the breadth and depth of varied roles I have been able to undertake.

“I started in network operations and ended up in data management. You can’t do that easily in small companies. It’s a good place to work, which is why we’re all still here. I can’t complain at all about my 40 years in the industry.”

The company has more than 400 employees with more than 40 years’ service, with 59 staff across the south east and London reaching their 40th or 50th milestone this year.

Basil Scarsella, chief executive, said: “We like to recognise and celebrate the dedication and expertise of our employees, many of whom have lived and worked in the areas we serve for a long time.

“Their work keeping the lights on is usually carried out behind the scenes, but it is very valuable in helping everyday lives run smoothly and contributing to the success of local economies.”