Celebrating 30 Years of BCL Power: A Journey of Innovation and Resilience

May 29, 2024
Posted in News
May 29, 2024 bclpower

This year, 2024 marks BCL Power’s 30th anniversary. So as we step into our third decade in the business, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on our journey and how we got here. 

From humble beginnings to becoming a trusted name in the UPS industry, our story is one of innovation, adaptation, and perseverance. 

We spoke with James Abbey, Director of BCL Power and son of one of the company’s founders, to delve into the history and the impressive milestones of the BCL business.

The Founding Vision: From Telecommunications to Battery Testing

BCL Power’s origins trace back to 1994 when telecommunications veterans John Abbey, Ian Johnson, and Howard Lawson identified a critical gap in the market. At the time, large telephone exchanges required robust battery backup systems to ensure uninterrupted service. These batteries were crucial for maintaining network reliability during power outages. However, there was no dedicated service for testing and maintaining these batteries, creating a significant vulnerability in the telecommunications infrastructure.

Recognising this opportunity, John, Ian, and Howard leveraged their extensive experience in the telecommunications field to address this need. They founded Brett Communications, named after Brett Road in Manchester, where their team was based. 

Brett Communications initially focused on providing comprehensive testing and maintenance services for the battery backup systems used in large telephone exchanges. Developing specialised testing protocols to assess battery performance, identify potential failures, and ensure optimal operation. This proactive maintenance not only extended the lifespan of the batteries but also enhanced the reliability of the entire telecommunications network.

The team’s expertise quickly gained recognition, as quickly Brett Communications established itself as a trusted partner in the telecommunications industry. Their services ensured telephone exchanges could operate smoothly without interruption, even during power failures. This reliability was critical for both emergency services and everyday communications.

Early Challenges and Growth

The early days were not without challenges. James, who joined the company early on, reminisces about the first battery tester they used—a large, cumbersome device that seems archaic by today’s standards. Despite the initial learning curve, the team’s industry connections helped secure early contracts, setting the stage for growth.

As it gained more contracts, the demand for its battery testing services grew. It was a slow but steady growth, and by 1997-98, they had secured significant contracts with public sector clients, which propelled the business forward.

Evolution and adaptation

As the telecommunications industry evolved, so did the technology for power supplies. The increased popularity of Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) introduced new standards for power backup systems, creating additional opportunities for Brett Communications.

One of the key factors behind BCL Power’s longevity has been its ability to adapt to industry changes. The shift from large telephone exchanges to Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) marked a significant pivot for the company. As the telecommunications landscape evolved, so did BCL Power, becoming specialists in UPS systems.

BCL has always been in the right place at the right time, evolving with market demands.

Milestones and achievements

Over the past three decades, BCL Power has achieved numerous milestones. From securing major public sector contracts to expanding their team and capabilities, the company’s growth has been steady and strategic.

Securing contracts with large entities like Ericsson and various public service organisations in London were significant milestones. These contracts required them to expand beyond what they thought was possible, marking their transition from a small operation to a more substantial enterprise.

What the future might look like…

As BCL Power looks to the future, the focus remains on maintaining excellence and fostering growth. James envisions a legacy built on steady, sustainable growth and continued adaptation to market needs and awareness of risk and maintenance.

They want and have been, building a legacy for the next generation, ensuring the company remains ahead in the UPS industry. Exploring opportunities in energy storage and other emerging markets is on the horizon, but the core focus remains on providing reliable power solutions and building lasting client relationships. 

Advice for future business leaders

Reflecting on the past 30 years, James shares valuable insights for aspiring entrepreneurs. Focusing on what you do well, adapting to market changes, and staying resilient are key takeaways. Their journey has taught them the importance of perseverance and the value of strong industry relationships.

Here’s to BCL Powers’ next 30 years of innovation, growth, and success.

30 years in business logo

Stay tuned for more stories and insights and the crazy adventures the team are getting up to across our socials, as we celebrate this significant milestone in our journey. And finally, a big thank you to our client base and the wonderful BCL Power team for helping us get to where we are today.


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