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Keeping the nation’s lights on and the water flowing: the Dulas keyworkers

Keeping the nation’s lights on and the water flowing: the Dulas keyworkers

When the UK’s lockdown was announced on March 23rd, most of the UK’s workers were either furloughed or ordered to work from home. But it is well-known that many workers in essential sectors, such as policing, medical care and food provision, continued in their daily duties, given the crucial nature of their roles.

It’s easy to forget that workers from the utilities and energy sectors are also keyworkers, and that their contribution is also fundamental, given the vital nature of electricity supply.

For this reason, Dulas’ workforce can still be seen criss-crossing the country, ensuring continuity of their services. We’ve been working closely with our partners to maintain essential service delivery to hundreds of thousands of people. For example, as part of our framework agreement with Welsh Water, Dulas’ dedicated team has been carrying out maintenance and optimisation work across a broad range of the utility giant’s renewable installations.

It may be surprising to know that a water company has such an integral energy requirement but in fact, water processing and supply is an energy-intensive process, and without electricity, domestic taps would soon run dry. Welsh Water is a trail blazer in terms of its low-carbon energy production, and in 2017, drew up an exhaustive biodiversity plan to guide the company towards sustainable operation. According to their website, the company currently has 58 clean-energy-producing sites across Wales, including 18 state-of-the-art hydro schemes. These hydro schemes generate nearly 50,000 MWh per annum, equivalent to a whopping 45.5 million miles driven by the average passenger vehicle.

It’s essential that these plants, and others like them, continue to provide water to the nation’s homes, and to that end, our workforce has been working around the clock to ensure that operational assets remain optimised, even during this period of increased domestic demand. The utility sector’s routine maintenance checks and activities are now more important than ever, especially now that the vast majority of the public are working from home, putting more pressure on resources.

Ruth Chapman, Managing Director of Dulas, states that, ‘as a company, we are proud to do what we can to support the country through the COVID-19 crisis. Our staff are all highly trained and have extensive experience of working with large scale utility renewables, so the nation can rest assured that they are in the best hands. All our workers in the field adhere to detailed risk assessments and wear strict PPE while continuing to deliver excellent service to businesses across Wales.’

The hydro industry, as a whole, is fundamental to maintaining optimum levels of energy for consumers, and the sector is working hard to find ways to responsibly work within the restrictions of lockdown. Here at Dulas, we are pleased to be able contribute to the national effort.

We are also forging ahead with as many of our activities as possible, and like many other businesses, are taking advantage of the opportunities presented by technology. For example, we have conducted community planning consultations online and we have managed the ‘lockdown-aware’ delivery of specialist ecology reports for recent EIAs too.

Dulas has always prided itself as a company on the forefront of endeavour. Over the decades, we have navigated the obstacles to getting renewable energy to where it is today – an essential component of the UK’s energy mix. Coronavirus is perhaps our most unexpected challenge to date, but like every challenge that we have met, we have found ways through, to ensure that delivery of service continues to be reliable and stable.

Our key workers are committed to ensuring that your business premises and households experience no dips in service, and we can guarantee that for as long as lockdown is in place, we will still be doing everything we can to keep the lights on, and taps flowing.