NORTHERN POWERGRID INVESTS £8.4M ON PROTECTING POWER NETWORK FROM VEGETATION
Northern Powergrid, the company that powers everyday life for 8 million people across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, has invested £8.4 million on protecting the region's power network.
The electricity distributor's annual rolling programme of clearing trees and foliage that have grown near the power network is a key part of the company’s preparations for winter, which also includes foot patrols and helicopter and drone aerial network inspections.
The clearance work helps reduce the chances of severe weather blowing vegetation into overhead power lines and causing damage and disruption for customers. The programme which takes place throughout the year has been boosted with an extra £1m investment this year. It supports Northern Powergrid’s maintenance and network investments so it can provide a safe, resilient and reliable power supply to the 3.9 million homes and businesses it powers.
Pete Wilstrop, Northern Powergrid's Network Inspections Manager, said: "This year, we've cut back vegetation from more than 1,400 miles of our power lines.
"This vital programme of vegetation clearance throughout the year helps us be winter ready. While not completely eliminating the risks, the work reduces 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.”
Pete added: "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 needed, 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."
As part of its latest business plan, Northern Powergrid proposes to invest around £80m between 2023 and 2028 on climate resilience to help further protect its network from climate change and severe weather.
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 can visit northernpowergrid.com/tree-trimming.
The network operator also tracks the weather every day as part of its approach to maintaining and improving the resilience of its network and being prepared for the winter months. Find out more on its dedicated Weather Aware page.
Helping customers be prepared is also important and Northern Powergrid’s annual winter campaign is sharing advice with customers and encouraging anyone who may be more vulnerable, due to their medical or personal circumstances, to join its free Priority Services Membership.
The network operator is encouraging people to be prepared so they know what to do if their power supply is ever affected, whether that’s because of a fault on the local electricity network or severe weather damaging electrical equipment.
It is recommending people bookmark its improved website and power cut map on their mobile and add 105 – the free national power cut number - to their contacts so they know where to get information. It is also directing customers to a range of improved online advice on how to be prepared so individuals, families and businesses know what to do and can take action to help reduce the impact. The new ‘be prepared’ page also provides links to information about:
- Northern Powergrid’s discretionary customer welfare support for people affected by a long duration power cut,
- how Northern Powergrid works with local partners to support customers and inform wider regional responses in communities in escalated events, and
- Northern Powergrid’s commitment to customer service and improving the services it offers now and in the future.