When Gary Mawer was made redundant from South Wales Electricity (Swalec) at the age of 51 in 1996, he did not want to take ‘an easy early retirement’. With a younger colleague, Rhys Wynne, he used his redundancy money to set up an energy-broking business from home. Later that same year, Mawer was approached by the mobile-phone operator One2One (now T-Mobile) to help supply and install power to its phone masts, often erected on remote hills and powered by generators. Now Cardiff-based Utility Partnership has contracts with all the leading mobile operators, and energy broking accounts for just 10% of its business. The surge in mobile-phone use and demand for better coverage has driven up sales 129% a year from £500,000 in 1998 to an annualised £6.0m in 2001, when the company employed 60 staff.
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