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The first permanent public electricity supply in the North West started in Keswick on 7 January 1890.By the end of 1890, many local supplies were established including: Accrington, Bacup, Blackburn, Bury Lancaster, Manchester and Salford.

At the turn of the century 73 supplies had developed in the North West with 60 owned by local authorities, 13 by private companies and 3 joint services.

The industry was nationalised with the introduction of the Electricity Act 1947 following the second world war, and in 1948 the 73 separate supplies were merged into the North Western Electricity Board, later known as Norweb.


In its early years, Norweb (and the other publically-owned regional electricity boards) focused on services to customers and standardising the engineering approach by rationalising different voltages and a mixture of AC and DC supplies.

During the 1950s and 60s the demand for energy grew leading to an expansion of the network, particularly to rural areas.

After growth stabilised, Norweb was privatised with the rest of the electricity industry in 1990. It remained Norweb Plc for five years until the company was bought by North West Water in 1995 and formed United Utilities.

Electricity North West

Electricity North West formed in 2007 when it purchased the North West's electricity distribution network from United Utilities. Then in 2010, we took on responsibility for operating and maintaining the network, offering a full and comprehensive service to customers.

    We are proud to carry on the service that started in Keswick more than 120 years ago, and a major part of our work is planning for the future for years to come.

    Click to view our timeline...

    Electricity North West Timeline Infographic

    Major incident

    Engineers are working to restore power to properties after severe flooding in Lancashire and Rochdale.

    We are doing everything we can to restore power and we'll update you regularly on our news section and TwitterFor emergencies, please call us on 0800 195 4141.