About us

Our Mission

Our mission is to improve the efficiency of the electricity grid in the UK and to provide an infrastructure of smart grids that will provide electricity in Africa.

In the UK, our technology will help optimise the utilisation of renewable energy through the management of demand and supply.


Around 1.2 billion people around the world live without access to grid electricity. Of this number, 600 million live in Africa. No or inadequate access to power is a significant constraint to economic and social development. Governments throughout Africa, NGOs and the donor community have all identified electrification as a priority.

Smart Grid Controls is bringing together individuals and organisations that have the skills and commitment to deliver an efficient and sustainable electrification strategy through the creation off-grid networks - otherwise known as smart mini-grids - that will enhance Africa's economic prospects.

Management Team

Tim Cantle-Jones - Managing Director

Tim is a dynamic and successful entrepreneur who over the last 30 years has taken a number of businesses from start up to growth in the UK and Africa.


He graduated in 1984 with a degree in Economics and Politics from the University of Bristol, he subsequently completed a post graduate diploma in Marketing from the University of Northumbria.


From 1984-1989, Tim worked in local government in the North East, establishing a number of innovative sports  programmes including the Indoor Tennis Initiative with the LTA and Action Sport with the Sports Council.


In 1990 Tim set up a sports management consultancy and over the period to 1997 he was involved in establishing a number of ground breaking projects including:

  • The UK/South Africa Sports Initiative for which he received a Peacemaker Award from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a letter of commendation from Nelson Mandela.

  • Newcastle Eurofest, creating the worlds first Fans Festival linked to Euro 96.

  • The Newcastle Marketing Initiative which led to the formation of The Newcastle Gateshead Initiative.


In 1997 Tim was recruited by the Government to lead the UK’s Millennium Celebrations including New Years Eve events in 22 towns and cities across the UK. In the year 2000 The Millennium Festival Fund supported over 15,000 projects.


In 2000 Tim returned to sports and event management consultancy, setting up amongst other things “Frost Fair” a UK network of Christmas ice rinks, The Urban Beach Tour a City Centre Beach Volleyball and Beach Football event. He continued to support events in South Africa including the successful bid for the 2010 football world cup.


In 2015 Tim established Northumbria Energy with a view to supporting communities in Africa with more stable electricity grids. In 2016 Northumbria Energy received a grant of £120,000 from the UK government to carry out trials of grid control hardware/software in South Africa. Following the delivery of successful trials, Tim was invited to speak about the potential benefits of the project at the 2017 UN Climate Change Conference in Born. 

In August 2018 Tim was invited to join the British Prime Minister, Theresa May on a tour of three African countries, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya with a view to addressing UK companies could support energy needs in Africa.

Tim is CEO of Smart Grid Controls Ltd.

Steve Todd - Technical Director

Since finishing his Masters Degree in Software Engineering at Newcastle University Stephen has been working as Software and Electronics Engineer for 24 years.

In 1998 he started a business and successfully raised investment to commercialise some Intellectual Property which he had developed while working on his MSc. The business had recruited 14 staff members and was in commercial trials and discussions with organisations such as the BBC and Sky TV.  Unfortunately, the business did not survive the dot.com crash of 2001.

After this Stephen worked under contract for Deutsche Bank for 8 years as an analyst programmer in the derivative markets. The project at the time has 200 developers and was one of the largest banking software projects in the world with an annual budget of $90m. He worked in both the front office with the brokers and in the middle office as poacher turned game keeper, ensuring all trading was kept compliant. By year 3 Stephen was leading a team of 10 engineers spread over multiple countries and responsible for an annual budget of €1m and reporting directly to senior management.

After the banking crash in 2009 Stephen took voluntary redundancy to commit to life as an entrepreneur. He secured a position as an Innovation Manager with Newcastle Science City. The Innovation Manager program allowed Stephen to explore and investigate different business opportunities and funded the creation of Wind Drive Ltd which Stephen started in 2011. 

Wind Drive has developed industrial control systems which monitor renewable generation in real time and controls industrial equipment to ensure as much of the ROI and reduction in carbon as possible can be realised from onsite equipment and generation.

In 2012 Wind Drive won a six-figure grant from the Environment Agency to develop the technology specifically for land drainage water pumping and has since installed 6 commercial systems and developed further technology to reduce carbon and cost by utilising the latest efficiency air source heat pumps to heat and cool their buildings. In total to date Wind Drive has contracted for over £1m worth of work with the EA.

Since 2015 Stephen has been working as CTO in Northumbrian Energy focusing on products and services to facilitate smart grids and distributed storage control.  In 2016 Northumbria Energy was awarded a grant of £120,000 from the UK Government (Africa Prosperity Fund) and successfully deliver 3 demonstration projects in South Africa.

Stephen is an experienced engineer and entrepreneur and is excited about the future business opportunities that smart, distributed grids are creating.

Steve is CTO of Smart Grid Controls Ltd.

© 2020 Smart Grid Controls

Smart Grid Controls

Town Hall Chambers, High Street East, Wallsend  NE28 7AT