WHEN we’re left in the dark during a power cut we no doubt rarely think about the team of people who work tirelessly to switch our lights back on.

In light of this, The Mail spent a day shadowing Electricity North West’s top electricians and engineers to find out what really goes on behind the scenes of the north’s leading power network.

Electricity North West is an electricity distribution network operator (DNO) responsible for powering more than 270,000 homes in Cumbria and five million homes across the North West.

This covers the diverse communities between the beautiful Lake District landscapes to the bustling city of Manchester and all the wonderful towns and villages located in-between.

The network owns and is responsible for the construction and maintenance of the network that distributes electricity throughout the region.

This includes the inspection and maintenance of assets which include 13,000 km of overhead lines, 43,000 km of underground cables, and 38,000 transformers.

We were shown the ropes by operations manager, Jane Fleetwood, and Cumbria’s only female operational engineer, Carol Pascoe.

Alongside their dedicated team of electricians and engineers, Electricity NW also has an array of other job positions including tree surgeons, surveyors, designers, auditors and more.

Ms Fleetwood, who has worked for the company for more than 34 years, said building team relationships is the key to efficient problem-solving.

She said: “We build up a relationship with everyone working in the company.

“It’s very rare that we encounter issues but when we do we work as a team to try and find the most efficient way of resolving them.

“We are committed to doing the right thing and we put the community and their needs at the heart of everything we do.”

The team, which is made up of 22 people in its Barrow-based office, responds to a host of electrical issues ranging from electricity theft to storm preparation.

“There’s a huge amount of work involved when preparing for a storm,” Ms Fleetwood said.

“We receive an in-depth weather forecast everyday before starting work.

“If the area is flagged as green, it’s normal.

“If it’s amber or red, we’ve got to start thinking ahead about what to do for that area.

“Lightning is potentially very dangerous in terms of electric faults.

“The worst incident for me across 34 years was Storm Desmond in December 2015.

“The storm caused substantial flooding and a considerable number of homes were left without power.”

Cumbria’s only female operational engineer, Carol Pascoe, has seen a number of weather-related power issues across her 25 years.

However, she said the ‘hands-on’ work in a predominantly male-dominated industry is where she feels most at home.

“I’ve always worked with a lot of men,” she said.

“I worked at Vickers when I was 16 then did a course in electrical engineering where there was only two girls studying on the course out of 60 people.

“I’ve always wanted to do something hands on and practical.

“It’s completely normal to me now.”

Ms Pascoe responds to a range of electric-based issued throughout the day.

“Every morning we decide what to respond to first based on its priority and location,” she said.

“There’s always someone on standby, so we deal with issues throughout the night too.

“It’s a non-stop job which I still very much enjoy.”

Ms Fleetwood also praised the job role’s variability.

“It’s a really rewarding job role, hence why I’ve been here for 34 years,” she said.

“We operate like an emergency service in the sense we’re constantly on-the-go responding to issues, there isn’t really a break for us.

“We’re responsible for powering hundreds of thousands of homes so there’s a level of responsibility which comes with that.

“No day is ever the same which is what makes is so interesting.”

If you are interested in a career with Electricity North West, visit their website: www.enwl.co.uk/about-us/careers