Reflecting on 2019; Building a bright future

When our founder Alan Hobbs first started Electrical Testing, I’m not sure he could have ever imagined how big the company would become. Since its incorporation in 1990, Electrical Testing have become a well respected and important cog in not only the street lighting industry, but also the Highways Electrical Industry too.

2019 has seen enormous growth across all divisions at Electrical Testing, testament to our approach to customer service and our quality of workmanship. In fact staffing levels have increased by 27% since last year. We now have over 100 vehicles on the road including HIABS, MEWPs and Tippers, plus large and small vans. We’ve laid over 25 miles of cable, installed over 10,000 joints and replaced over 4,000 columns. We’ve ordered over 500 new items of PPE and gone through over 14,000 general purpose gloves meaning – if you laid the gloves end-to-end –  it would reach almost 2 miles!

All this growth hasn’t come without growing pains. The converted boat shed – which has been our home for over 20 years – will now give way to our new office building, due for completion in 2020.  However, this isn’t the end for the boat shed which will be converted into our brand new training centre. Our ETL Training business has continued to grow from strength to strength and will now benefit from purpose built training rooms for the Highways Electrical and other courses we run. Along with a purpose built stores, this will enable us to support our continued business growth in 2020 and beyond.

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Our new larger office will allow us to spread a little, providing the necessary room for new staff to join us in 2020 and beyond. To accommodate our additional administrative and training staff, our new office has been designed with multiple meeting rooms, breakout areas and a fantastic board room overlooking the beautiful Broads. Not many can rival that view!

An often under looked aspect of our services is our IT department. This is where we truly separate ourselves from the competition with all of our software being written in-house. Like our boat shed, the software we used was in need of upgrading. Our CTO, Francis Lillie, has led a team of three developers to write (from scratch) not just one, but three brand new software platforms which every single staff member will benefit from using. This monumental task has been ongoing for almost a year and will be rolled out in early 2020. It will have a significant effect on the speed at which the entire business operates, enabling our customers to access their data in a faster and more comprehensive way.

2019 saw our ETL Highways business launch Easyweb 5, providing data for our clients on their lighting inventory. This has been well received with clients benefitting from a more streamlined user experience, enabling them 24/7 access to data and to run reports wherever they are.

November 2019 saw the soft launch of our Model C dipstik®. It has the functionality to test both aluminium and steel columns, and comes with a digital screen and bluetooth capability. We will provide more information on this in the New Year. But we believe the new Model C dipstik® will be a revelation to the industry, giving our customers tighter levels of tolerance and even more accurate results.

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The ETL Connections division, now in its 7th year, operates with 14 jointing crews and – with mates and civils operatives – means there are 33 staff on site. Working across the country, anywhere from Edinburgh to Torbay, we are delighted to have already secured contracts that utilise up to nine jointing teams for 2020 and beyond.  Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the work we carry out with DNO (Distribution Network Operators) is bringing new contestable works to ICPs across the UK. In 2019 we have been instrumental in carrying out OHL (Overhead Lines) works across multiple DNO networks. We also brought about a change in policy in one particular case to enable ICPs and DNOs themselves to carry out SWA (Steel Wired Armour) transfers. This single change has and will continue to save local authorities thousands of pounds each year.

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The newest division at Electrical Testing is ETL Training, establishing themselves in a relatively short time as the leading provider of Highway Electrical courses in the country. Despite our rural location, companies send their staff to us from far and wide, to be trained by our experienced and highly competent trainers. Our new training centre will enable us to increase the number of training courses we can run. Our focus in the coming months will be on NVQs, with our training staff actively helping companies stay compliant with the new CSCS requirements for 2020. 

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2019 has seen us place a greater emphasis on our external messaging to the industry and customers alike, focusing on regular adverts and thought leadership articles in various industry magazines. We’ve also increased our presence on social media through our Twitter activity, highlighting industry stories and providing glimpses into our activities on-site. One highlight of the year was the BBC news feature about our highways electrical training of the only female apprentice in the country (Read the full article). We plan to do more of this activity in 2020 with campaigns on NVQ’s, HERS Portfolios, Apprenticeships and BSEN40’s for hanging baskets, festive lights and decorations and other column attachments.

So it’s been a busy year, full of challenges and obstacles which we’ve met with good humour and hard work. We have a feeling that 2020 will be much of the same.