Remaining calm at all times (even at 3am!): The inside story of life in Cadent’s Control Room

working for us

Name: David Widd
Job Title: Shift Control Engineer (SCE) in Cadent’s Distribution National Control Centre (DNCC)
Job Description: Operating 24/7, 365 days a year to ensure the safe and efficient operation of Cadent’s five gas distribution networks in the East Midlands, East Anglia, North London, North West and
Sum up what you do: Our primary role in the DNCC is to make sure we maintain a safe and secure gas distribution network which achieves the right balance between supply and demand, at all times.
It’s the DNCC’s job to forecast real time gas demand throughout the day. We submit these forecasts to the Gas National Control Centre (GNCC) who then ensure that there is enough gas in our system to feed our networks.
While much of our role is proactive, things can change very quickly. In the event of gas assets failing, a power outage or a severe change in weather we are trained to remain calm and react in a rational manner to resolve the challenges even if they occur at 3am! We can bring gas sites on and off line as required by operating our technical remote systems and we can adjust gas pressures and flows as and when required across our networks.
How long have you been doing the job?
I’ve been in the role for just over a year, so I’m one of the newest members of the DNCC team.
What does the SCE training involve?
To make sure the correct level of competency is maintained in the control room, SCEs undertake a structured, evidence based, training plan known as the Standard Technical Competency process. This makes sure all SCEs have the competencies they need to carry out the job safely and efficiently.
We are also required to hold a License to Operate (LTO) for the network that we serve. Achieving LTO status takes between 12 and 18 months. Initially you’re aligned to one network but once you’ve achieved the LTO for that network and gained appropriate experience you go on to gain the LTO for a second and sometimes a third network. This allows for more work flexibility and also enables us to provide holiday and sickness cover for colleagues who covering other Cadent networks.
 Would you recommend the job?
For the right person, yes, it’s a terrific job.
The DNCC sits within Cadent’s Safety and Network Strategy function, which offers roles for those with a keen interest in engineering, systems, analysis and presentation of data. 
For our role you need to be able to stay calm in high pressure situations whatever time of the day or night they occur!


Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

Future of Gas: Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

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Ben Green

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