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Work powers on to improve north-west Highland electricity supply

By Calum MacLeod

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SSEN is making a £330,000 investment to improve the north-west Highland electricity supply.
SSEN is making a £330,000 investment to improve the north-west Highland electricity supply.

HOMES and businesses in the north-west Highlands will receive an upgrade to their power supplies ahead of winter, following a two-week refurbishment to the local electricity network.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is carrying out a £330,000 upgrade programme which sees teams working along a 33km route, replacing the wooden electricity poles carrying overhead power lines between Kinlochewe, Kerry Falls and Aultbea.

Almost 2000 properties in Aultbea, Gairloch, Badachro, Poolewe and Dundonnell will benefit from this investment, with SSEN’s teams also carrying out a programme of essential maintenance at the Kerry Falls and Aultbea substations to ensure a robust and resilient network ahead of winter.

Tree-cutting teams will also be clearing trees and vegetation away from the lines as part of the company’s year-round fault prevention programme, reducing the risk of high winds and storms blowing trees and branches into the electricity equipment and cause power cuts.

SSEN project manager, John Shanks, said: “We invest in our network all year round to make sure it’s in the best possible condition to provide a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity to our customers.

“Not only will this project see new wooden electricity poles installed, it also provides us with a great opportunity to carry out additional work which will boost the resilience of the network, minimising the risk of power cuts this winter and for years to come.”

To ensure the ongoing safety of members of the local community and SSEN engineers as they work, power is being turned off temporarily in the areas where work is being carried out. To minimise any disruption to local homes and businesses along the route, temporary mobile generation will be used to keep the power flowing as the work progresses.

The work is scheduled for completion on Thursday, August 6.

Pamela Harvey, SSEN’s customer relationship manager for the Highlands and Islands, added: “We’ve planned this project to ensure disruption to our customers is kept to a minimum as we work, but I’d like to remind customers of our priority services register which offers free additional support to those who need it most during planned or unplanned interruption to supplies. I’d urge anyone who feels they may benefit from extra help to visit our website or get in touch with our dedicated priority services team.”

People can qualify for additional support if they are shielding during the coronavirus pandemic, have sight or hearing problems or a disability or chronic illness, live with children under five, use medical equipment/aids reliant on electricity or are over 60.

To find out more about the priority services register, call 0800 294 3259.

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