Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for keeping the lights on across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, has invested £9 million as part of its commitment to protecting the region’s power network.
With wintery weather ahead the annual programme of clearing trees and foliage which have grown near to the power network becomes particularly important as it plays a vital role in helping reduce the chances of severe weather blowing vegetation into overhead power lines and causing damage and disruption.
The clearance programme, which takes place throughout the year, supports the electricity distributor's maintenance and network investments so it can provide a safe and reliable power supply to the 8 million customers across 3.9 million homes and businesses that it serves across the region.
The work helps reduce the risk of power cuts being caused by trees and other vegetation growing too close to the thousands of miles of overhead power lines which carry electricity, up to 132,000 volts, across the region.
Pete Wilstrop, Northern Powergrid’s Network Inspections Manager, said: “By the end of this year we’ll have invested more than £9 million clearing trees and other vegetation from more than 1,200 miles of our overhead power network.
"It’s vitally important that we carry out a robust programme of tree clearance throughout the entire year so we are winter ready. While not completely eliminating the risks, this work can help significantly reduce the potential for trees making contact with our power lines during severe weather or snapped branches hitting our network causing damage and a power cut for our customers.
“To reduce disruption to our customers and wherever it is safely possible we cut back trees without the need for a planned power cut, however on some occasions, to work safely we do have to isolate our network. When this is required we always provide advance notice to enable our customers to make alternative arrangements, where necessary, to help minimise the impact on them, their family and their property.”
Anyone who spots trees growing too close to power lines or is interested in finding out more about the work Northern Powergrid does to protect the region’s power network from trees can visit northernpowergrid.com/tree-trimming.
If a customer does have a power cut they can contact Northern Powergrid 24/7 - whatever the weather. The electricity network is encouraging people to also take their own steps to ‘Be Winter Ready’ by bookmarking its online power cut map, following its social media pages and adding the 105 number to their mobile phone to ensure they are prepared and will have the information they need at their fingertips if they ever need to contact Northern Powergrid in the future.
A recent survey found 75% of people in the North East and 65% of people in Yorkshire and Humberside don’t know who their local energy network operators are, with only 21% (North East) and 15% (Yorkshire and Humberside) saying they prepare themselves for winter by finding out who to contact if their electricity or gas goes off.