Electricity worker ditches Christmas dinner to help keep Suffolk connected

Mike Ward from Bury St Edmunds

Mike Ward from Bury St Edmunds - Credit: UK Power Networks

A Suffolk electricity worker is ready to drop his Christmas plans to help keep power flowing across the county. 

Mike Ward, from Ingham, is a field engineer and has worked for UK Power Networks for 34 years - supporting a 24-hour operation to deliver electricity to customers across the East of England, which continues as usual throughout the festive period.

A number of engineers and technical experts will be on duty over Christmas to make sure any problems on overhead power line and underground cables are resolved. 

“You always want to help people back on supply as quickly and safely as possible," said Mr Ward.

"But I think there is an extra awareness when you work Christmas Day, this will have an impact on their special day - so you really do everything possible for them.

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"It’s an extra motivation, because you know how much it will matter to them.

“I have been working for UK Power Networks for 34 years, so I’ve worked a fair few Christmas Days over that time - I did it last year as well.

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"My children are grown up now, so I volunteer for the shift to help other colleagues with younger families get that time off.

“This year I’m on a standby shift which means I will be called if required, from 8am on Christmas Day until 8pm on Boxing Day.

"It obviously means I cannot have an alcoholic drink, as I need to be ready to drive to work at any time. If the phones goes, I go.

“I am having close family over, I’ll be with my wife and my grown-up son and his family, so we’ll just plan to have Christmas lunch at the usual time and if I have to leave it, I have to leave.

"My family have got used to the phone ringing after this many years.

“Last year I wasn’t actually needed, but I’ve certainly been required a few Christmas Days.

“I remember one year there was a road traffic accident near Diss which brought down a pole and it was my job to be part of the team repairing it and restoring power.

"In other years it’s been stormy weather damaging the power cables, which has led to power cuts.”

UK Power Networks operates a free power cut helpline - 105 - so customers can report any incidents.

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