Address by new President

In his address to members at their Annual General Meeting Mr.D.J. Fuller outlined briefly his 40+ years working as a Commercial Engineer in the Electricity Industry. Starting as an apprentice at Reigate Corporation his career embraced Seeboard, Yorkshire, East Midlands and the Eastern Electricity Boards.
In his talk he brought out the highlights of his experience grouped by topics rather than in any chronological order.
He emphasised the power of electricity and the danger of taking it for granted and gave one or two examples of what happened when you did.
As an apprentice he was checking a stopped meter which was sitting on an insulated meter board with its metal casing live at the head of a
flight of wooden steps leading to a cellar. A wire inside the meter had welded itself to the case. As he grasped the meter to remove the case he received his first electric shock. From then on any piece of equipment was isolated before working on it.
Electricity can all too easily cause death as instanced by an episode at a factory making reinforced concrete beams near Leeds. Investigating the death of one of the firms employees he was found to be holding a lead lamp comprising a screw type lampholder, flexible cord and a 13 amp plugtop. The polarity to the lampholder was reversed making the exposed portion of the lampcap live at mains voltage. The man was holding the lamp whilst standing in wet aggregrate in rubber boots with a hole in their sole. Result electrocution. This company had a very good safety record with all lead-lamps subject to regular inspection and yet a lethal lamp had somehow been brought into use.
Animals are also very susceptible to electric shock, Mr. Fuller told of cows rubbing themselves against the base of a transformer pole whilst there was an earth fault on the network. A high resistance earth on the transformer resulted in the field adjacent to the pole becoming live, electrocuting four cows.
Lessons learned, always isolate the supply before touching any electrical equipment. Use low voltage or a sensitive residual current circuit breaker in vulnerable situations. Ensure earthing system is effective.
Changing tack, Mr. Fuller told of the early days of Nationalisation of the Industry when it was a requirement to develop the electricity network into rural areas. Groups of prospective customers were identified and a scheme for an extension to the network prepared and costed. Meetings were held with all participants and after estimating the likely energy sales and capitalising this against the cost of the scheme, individuals contributions were agreed. Due to a variety of reasons, wayleaves for the route, shortages of capital, manpower and materials, delays of up to 18 months were not uncommon before work started. Ranmore Common and Holtye Common were areas that Mr. Fuller had personally negotiated and it gave him great satisfaction that he had brought electricity to these localities for the first time.
Negotiations also included increases of load for existing customers and he recalled negotiating an increase of 2MW for a paper mill in Yorkshire where the discussions were held with the Swedish owners via Telex machine!
Mr. Fuller then related two stories associated with his experiences with industrial relations including a work to rule at Leatherhead and the walk out of storekeepers at SEEB’s central appliance store.
He then went on to tell members of the various electrical contracting operations the Boards undertook and touched on the use of aluminium house wiring cables and the rewiring of the State Rooms at Harewood House near Leeds.
The next section of his talk dealt with the development of electric heating. He explained how the existing storage radiator had developed from very humble beginnings: the early days of floor warming and the design criteria employed.
The final section dealt with his role in national marketing for whole of the ESI with the aim of developing the domestic load. Successes included the storage heater with annual sales of 600,000; the shower a new appliance with sales of 400,000. Failure was the market for dishwashers where despite considerable maarketing effort the sales per 1,000 customers was the lowest in Europe.
He concluded by saying, that his talk was just a snap shot of a lifetimes experience in the Electricity Supply Industry chosen to illstrate the rewards of “Commercial Engineering.”