25th March 2013

I haven’t had a moan about the weather for a few weeks but this is ridiculous for late March. This time last year we were wearing short-sleeves, in the middle of a drought and the temperature was in the late teens. Farmers were panicking about the lack of water and a few of the utilities had introduced hosepipe bans.

Fast forward 12 months and we are battling snow, ice and freezing wind. Last week we had to cancel a big job up near Glasgow due to the weather and have had to postpone it again just now. The problem is a layer of compacted snow on the access track making it dangerous to even attempt to get a crane into the site – that is before we even think about whether the wind is too strong for the crane and our climbing engineers. Unless we get a bit of warm weather it could be 2-3 weeks before we can get into the site which is frustrating for all parties concerned.

As luck would have it, just as we called off the job last week, another one came in not a million miles away which turned out to be a bit of an emergency. We dropped tools and legged it across to Edinburgh to sort out the problems and ended up being on site until Friday night. Being able to respond fast when really needed is vital and I think the client was impressed that we mobilised a full crew including an appointed person, full lifting and health & safety documentation and were on site with a crane within 24 hours of the call coming in.

The guys are reacting to a maintenance call-out this morning down in Staffordshire before heading north to service a turbine near Sheffield. The plan was that they would then head straight up to Glasgow. With this job being postponed it will be a case of filling the gaps with servicing work – now we have volume in terms of servicing (we look after approx. 300 turbines), we can keep the guys busy even if work is cancelled at short notice. Volume also often allows us to combine jobs in the same area. By being more efficient in this way, we can make significant cost savings which are passed to the customer making it a win/win situation.

We were awarded a few new jobs at the end of last week which was encouraging. These included 4 sub 50kW (different turbine types) projects where we are doing full balance of plant. There was also a foundation to do for another small turbine up in the North East. Work seems to be flowing a bit freer than it was before but there is still a huge number of projects we have priced for and waiting for one of the dreaded three (planning, grid and/or funding). I think we will have priced for approx. £500k worth of work in the last month or so (all projects under 500kW in size) which for a small company like us is going some.

Have a good week


Alex Thornton25th March 2013