Power to create host of new jobs

PLANS to create a host of new jobs in Wigan have been unveiled.

Power distribution business Electricity North West has unveiled plans to roll out a £1.4bn investment programme to upgrade the region’s networks.

Part of that will involve splashing out £20m on a new substation for Wigan. It is currently at the initial planning stage but it is hoped that if permission is given, construction work will start later this year. A spokesman for the company said it was too early to estimate how many jobs would be created in Wigan but there are expected to be a total of 250 new positions created across the North West,

Formally known as Norweb and once proud sponsors of Wigan Rugby League Club, it was sold to North West Electricity Networks.

It owns more than 43,000km of underground cables, 13,000km of overhead lines and 38,000 transformers delivering electricity to 2.4m homes and businesses in the region.

Electricity North West says it will be taking on local contractors and employing local staff.

The funding for this will come largely from consumers. ENW charge suppliers like Atlantic Energy or E.ON which use their network and it accounts for 15 per cent of the final bill for electricity for domestic customers.

Steve Johnson, chief executive of ENW, which currently employs 1,500 staff, said: “This is an important period for us because this is the largest investment we have made in the network for probably 30 years or more.

“The initial five-year investment will not stop there. We have plans in place to continue investing for a further 15 to 20 years after the initial stage.”

The 250 jobs which will be created range from office staff to engineers and IT specialists who will be needed to help improve the region’s infrastructure.

Mr Johnson said: “One of the things we are doing is investing in the future of local people. We are looking at a programme for apprenticeships, graduates and adult trainees to come and work for us.”