25th May 2018
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Hydro invests to keep power on this winter

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Power cuts affected the South Mainland last night with electricity being off at Bigton and Sandwick between around 9.30pm and 10.30pm.
There was no indication of the cause of the disruption but a burning pole was seen on the hill at Rompa west of Sandwick.
Extra investment in the electricity network to keep the lights on across the isles over the winter has been announced by Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD).
Over the past four years, SHEPD has spent £162m to ensure that its overhead lines, underground cables and substations are all in the best condition and able to withstand the challenges of the ever-changing Shetland climate.
Ahead of this winter, engineers have been carrying out refurbishment programmes across the network, installing the latest technologies and ensuring that any old or damaged equipment is replaced or repaired. Tree-cutting teams have also been working to ensure that the overhead lines are free from any interference by trees or other vegetation during high winds or storm conditions.
The work programme includes:
● An investment of over £1m to strengthen the supplies between Brae and Northmavine. This has seen the installation of new underground cables along the route and new technology at the Brae substation. The new equipment means that fewer customers should be affected in the rare event of a power cut.
● Work costing around £2.2m is under way to rebuild the overhead lines in Muckle Roe and Nibon as well as the overhead line to Eshaness Lighthouse. This new line will have new technology built in which will mean that if there is a power cut in the future, it will be easier and quicker to track down the cause of the fault.
● Engineers have inspected the overhead lines across the islands to give the local depot staff a detailed view of the electricity network condition, with attention to the main fault areas from the past few years to identify and head-off likely future problems.
● The company’s Priority Service Register (‘PSR’) has been updated to ensure that as many vulnerable customers as possible are given vital care and support during a power cut. Customers who can benefit from being on the PSR include those who rely on electricity for medical equipment, the elderly and those with a young baby in the family. For more information on the PSR, please call 0800 294 3259.
Shetland’s distribution operations manager George Priest said: “Electricity is one of those things that we all take for granted nowadays, whether it’s for domestic or business use and that is why we’re doing everything we can to prevent power cuts for our customers. We’re installing the latest equipment and technology across the islands, and this will make the local network is as strong and resilient as possible.”
SHEPD head of operations Rodney Grubb said an extensive campaign of work had been undertaken ahead of winter to ensure that the network was “as robust and resilient as possible, as part of our commitment to keeping the lights on all year round.”
He added: “We’re proud of the long standing relationship we have with the local communities where we live and work, and appreciate only too well the challenges that a traditional Scottish winter can bring. We’ve continued to hold meetings with community groups and local resilience committees across our distribution area, and these have been invaluable in sharing our own experience of preparing for winter and offering the communities useful help and advice.”

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

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