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PROTECTING THE REGION’S POWER NETWORK DURING PANDEMIC

28 May 2020

PROTECTING THE REGION’S POWER NETWORK DURING PANDEMIC

28 May 2020

Northern Powergrid, the electricity distribution company that’s powering homes, hospitals and critical services across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, is continuing its vital work to manage, maintain, protect and inspect the region’s power network during the pandemic.

As part of Northern Powergrid’s COVID-19 response the company has helicopter patrolled in excess of 7,000 km of overhead power lines across the region, in addition to a further 27,000 km of assets flown as part of its usual annual inspection programme. Working in partnership with its contractor Amey, teams of arborists have also been checking for overgrown vegetation that could affect sections of overhead network that serve critical sites such as hospitals and businesses supporting the country’s pandemic response. Amey has surveyed some 2,200 km of extra high voltage overhead power lines and cut back vegetation from some 354 km of the region’s electricity distribution network during the pandemic response period, all of which serves to ensure the security and resilience of the electricity network.

As part of its response Northern Powergrid and Amey played a key role in supporting British Oxygen – a business which provides medical grade oxygen to the NHS via one of its facilities in Lincolnshire. As part of the network company’s robust review of critical sites in its operating areas, it was identified that good weather and the growing season had put a section of overhead power lines situated in dense woods near Scunthorpe at risk.  If sections of branches blew onto or touched the lines it could have caused a power cut for the business affecting its important role.

Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid’s head of network operations, said: “Our role each and every day is to provide a safe and reliable electricity supply to our customers, that has never been more important than at this current time. We work continuously to maintain, protect and inspect our electricity network, so we can keep powering peoples’ lives.  At the very start of the pandemic, we did a major assessment of all sections of our network that serve sites which were identified as  critical to the nation and region’s response to COVID-19.  This helped us prioritise any necessary work to ensure reliability of supply in these difficult times for our customers.”

Richard Wetherell, Amey’s Principal operations manager, said: “It was key to get this section of Northern Powergrid’s network clear of any overgrown vegetation. The area is used by dog walkers and those taking daily exercise during the pandemic so we did not want to close it. Instead we planned the work to ensure anyone passing-by would be safe and our teams could work in line with necessary social distancing. The work needed to be completed in four days, so with a combination of 344 people-hours by our dedicated teams with specialist machinery, we successfully cleared 11 spans of 33kV network, which is a fantastic achievement.”

Rod added: “During the pandemic our teams and contractors are working tirelessly to ensure that we keep the power flowing for our customers. Our network continues to operate exactly as it should, safely delivering power to millions of customers every day.  We are incredibly proud of what our people – and our contractors - are doing for the communities we serve.”

Anyone needing support during a power cut can contact the network operator 24/7 on social media (Facebook or Twitter @NorthPowergrid) or by calling 105.  Its website also provides information and advice to support customers if they have or need to report a power cut.

Any customers who may need additional advice or support due to their medical circumstances, or are currently ‘shielding’ in line with government and public health advice, may wish to consider joining the company’s free Priority Services Register by visiting northernpowergrid.com/cares  or calling 0800 169 2296.

To find out more about how Northern Powergrid and its people are continuing to power the region during the pandemic visit northernpowergrid.com/coronavirus or follow the network operator on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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