Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) has invested £32m this year to strengthen the local electricity network, improving security of supply and increasing winter resilience. The investment is part of a £162m investment programme, to be rolled out over four years.
Head of Operations, Rodney Grubb said: “Planning for the unpredictable Scottish weather through this investment means our electricity network is more robust than ever. We have paid particular attention to areas which were affected earlier this year especially in the West of Scotland where the exceptional snow storm resulted in a major rebuild of the electricity network in Arran and Kintyre.”
In recent months engineers throughout Scotland have reinforced key parts of the local electricity network through major overhead line refurbishment, the inspection, maintenance and refurbishment of electrical assets, tree cutting and the installation of additional fault finding equipment to help engineers locate faults quicker.
SHEPD has advanced weather monitoring systems in place, which gives staff advanced warning of severe weather, helping engineers to plan ahead and be ready for an impact on the electricity network. This information is used to mobilise crews, materials and equipment where they are needed most. SHEPD has a tried and tested storm plan in place to ensure correct levels of staffing in its depots and call centres.
SHEPD supports the Scottish Government’s Ready Scotland campaign working closely with local authorities, Police Scotland and NHS to ensure resources and information are shared and Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing said: “As we know, severe weather can strike quickly, at any time of year, and can cause a range of problems. While we can’t stop the weather causing disruption, we can be well prepared to deal with it. By taking a few simple steps now, whether in the home or at work, before a journey, or in the wider community, we can save ourselves a lot of trouble later. This will serve us well not just throughout the winter months, but all year round and in a range of emergency situations. You can find a range of advice and tips at www.readyscotland.org.”
Rodney Grubb added: “A power cut can be particularly distressing for vulnerable customers who rely on electricity, such as the elderly, those with medical requirements, the disabled or people with young babies and we would urge anyone who hasn’t contacted us to register on 0800 294 3259 for extra support.”
Contingency plans include the mobilisation of a specially kitted out vehicle to act as an additional communication hub in outlying areas. Additionally, new 4×4 vehicles, designed to weather tough conditions have been delivered to areas where they are needed, and helicopters are available if required.