Welsh utility connections consultancy looks to expansion for 2017

Posted: Tuesday 31st January 2017

A Welsh utility company that saves developers, builders and contractors millions of pounds on connection charges is planning a major expansion in the coming three years.

Utilities Connections Management Ltd (UCML), is a one-stop shop for businesses, housing associations, care home providers, architects and others across the UK, which require electricity, gas, water and telecom connections.

The company was set up by former ScottishPower electrical engineer Arwel Lloyd 13 years ago to take advantage of utility deregulation.

It aims to find the most economic way to link into utility networks, cutting connection charges, and to ensure its customers work in the most energy-efficient way, so reducing ongoing bills.

More than 20 staff are employed at UCML's base on Wrexham Industrial Estate, and its latest three year business plan will see the company spread its customer base further across the UK.

There are also plans to offer new services for customers with the potential of a new base in south east England.

Arwel said: "Over the past months we've been working on a significant growth plan. We already have customers right across the UK, from Aberdeen in the north to Bodmin in the south.

"They include a major hotel chain, social housing groups, Royal Mail, the Co-op, house builders, retail, commercial and land developers, local authorities, the Welsh Government, schools and education bodies and major construction firms like Balfour Beatty.

"Our growth strategy includes expanding into other geographical areas, providing our customers with different offerings and improving the quality of our service. We've actually identified 20 initiatives we would like to investigate over the next three years.

"There are currently 25 people working for us, and we are in the process of recruiting to expand the team further in 2017. Also, because of increasing business in the southern half of the country we are thinking of opening an additional office in north London.

"A big scheme for the immediate future is a major commercial, retail and residential development close to the new Wembley Stadium in London. We've been asked to advise the developer, Quintain, on securing additional electrical capacity, although, as part of our commitment to saving clients money, we've already been able to tell them this isn't necessary and they won't need to spend what they believed they might have to spend.

"We offer a fast, efficient, value for money service with one main point of contact, and help our clients save a substantial amount of money on connection charges and overheads.

"We strive for continual improvement. We work with clients to understand what their issues are. With us every job is different and a new challenge. We try to recognise these differences from the customer's point of view.

Arwel, who is originally from Llangollen, spent 30 years with Manweb ScottishPower working on the power distribution network.

After taking early retirement, he initially worked for international power company ABB before setting up UCML to take advantage of the opening of the utility market to competition.

Dad-of-two Arwel, who is aged 64, added: "They were both first-class companies and gave me lots of training opportunities.

"However, in my last four years with ScottishPower I was based in its head office in Glasgow, working on the distribution side. I was living in a hotel and, as there's only so much Coronation Street you can watch, I started working on a business plan.

"I met up with my old colleague and friend Geoff Swindley, another electrical engineer, who told he was about to retire and wasn't sure what he wanted to do next. That's when I resurrected my business plan and we started UCML together in 2004 to take advantage of deregulation of the electricity, gas, water and telecoms sectors.

"We both had plans to retire but when the business expanded and we took on staff that didn't happen, although Geoff did retire three years ago.

"My role as UCML managing director is very hands-on. I love dealing with the technical side of things and having meetings with customers and colleagues on-site and in the office."

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