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06/06/12: Electricity North West powers ahead with £223m investment

Electricity North West invested a record £223m in improving the region’s power network during the year to 31 March 2012, according to recently filed accounts.

The investment showed a 26 per cent increase on the previous year, and is set to rise again this year the electricity network operator says.

Major capital investment projects included providing the electricity infrastructure for the Manchester Metrolink tram network extension, a programme of placing overhead power cables underground in areas of natural beauty in the region and renewing end-of-life high voltage power lines in the Carrington, Barton and Didsbury areas.

The company expects its planned direct network investment to increase again over the next 12 months as it reaches the third year of its five-year £1.4 billion regional investment programme.

Funding this investment, revenues were up almost 3% to £405m in the year. Operating profit of £190m was down from £210m in the previous year as a result of increased investment in network operations and maintenance, but also reflecting additional costs due to an increase in metal theft.

Steve Johnson, chief executive of Electricity North West, said: “It was a successful and challenging year for the company. We delivered a major programme of capital investment which will continue over the coming years and result in a stronger network for the region.

“Our investment is also supporting wider economic activity in the North West and we have stepped up the level of engagement we have with all of our stakeholders, who we want to play an integral role in the decisions we make and how and where we invest in the future.”

Electricity North West launched a new structured training programme during the year to encourage more young people to start a career in engineering. Seven electrical engineering graduates and 14 apprentices joined new training schemes and are being supported by experienced mentors from within the company.

The company also extended its employee development programmes to enable the recruitment of trainee engineers with HNC and A level/ONC qualifications, helping more young people into the profession at a time of high youth unemployment.

A new "Switched On: North West" campaign was launched to allow consumers, businesses and other stakeholders in the region to have a say in the investment priorities for the North West power network ahead of the next electricity price control review period up to 2023. Stakeholders are being invited to have their say at www.enwl.co.uk/switchedon.

Click here to view the financial statements.

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