SSEN Weather Alert – preparations in place for Storm Brian

With last night’s high winds passing off without incident, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is now turning its attention to the weekend and the arrival of Storm Brian, which is forecast to impact its central southern England network.  

SSEN’s current weather model shows a period of high winds across much of its central southern England region from the early hours of Saturday morning, with sustained high winds expected throughout the day before tailing off later in the evening.  Forecasts are predicting wind gusts of up to 60mph for coastal communities and up to 55mph inland.  These wind speeds, accompanied by heavy rain and risk of lightning, are expected to result in a number of faults across SSEN’s network.

SSEN is ensuring that preparations and resources are in place to deal with any issues that may affect its network and is increasing its standby resources in anticipation of potential damage to its network, including moving engineers south from SSEN’s north of Scotland network.   

·         Over 800 engineers and support staff are on standby to respond to any damage to SSEN’s network, where it is safe to do so
·         SSEN has increased its call handlers to over 150 across both days this weekend, four times the normal amount, to help ensure it can respond promptly to calls from its customers
·         Front line engineers, support staff, resources and equipment, such as mobile generation units, have been strategically moved to locations predicted to be affected by the high winds forecast
·         SSEN has proactively contacted over 21,500 of its Priority Service Register customers to offer extra assistance where required
·         An extra 35 staff will be out in affected regions going door-to-door to provide information, reassurance and assistance to any customers requiring additional help
·         Eight catering units and SSEN welfare vans ready to be mobilised to areas without power in order to provide residents with food, drinks and charging facilities for laptops, phones and tablets
·         SSEN has also been liaising with local resilience partners to help coordinate efforts and ensure that everyone is prepared for any interruption to supplies should they occur 

SSEN’s Director of Customer Operations, Craig Gilroy, said:

“Our network stood up well to last night’s high winds and we now turn our focus to the arrival of Storm Brian at the weekend.  We have been tracking the weather front for a number of days and have increased our resource plans accordingly.  I would like to reassure our customers that we are ready, well prepared and resourced to respond promptly to any damage to our network, where it is safe to do so.

“We have deployed additional frontline teams, support staff, equipment and welfare facilities in the areas expected to be impacted to help support efforts to restore power to our customers as quickly and safely as possible.  We have also been proactively contacting our vulnerable customers to pre-warn them of potential disruption to supplies as well as working closely with our local resilience partners.

“Due to the sustained period of high winds forecast for Saturday combined with the risk of lightning, we would ask any customers who experience a power cut to be patient as restoration times may be delayed if it is not safe for our engineers to conduct repairs.  There is also an increased risk of tree related faults and we are mobilising additional crews of tree cutters to support efforts to respond to any damage on our network.

“If any of our customers do experience a power cut, or have any concerns about a vulnerable family member or community member, I would encourage them to please call us on the new national emergency number, 105.” 

SSEN is also encouraging its customers not to approach any damage to its equipment and instead, report the damage to by calling 105 and SSEN’s engineers will investigate as soon as possible.

Customers are encouraged to be prepared in the event of possible disruption to power supplies, by:   

  • Saving the new emergency power cut number – 105 – to your phone to use if your power goes off, or if you see any damage to the electricity network.
  • Downloading SSEN’s Power Track app to give you details of power cuts and restoration times.
  • Going to SSEN’s website where there is a wealth of advice and information on how to prepare for a possible loss of power.
  • Following SSEN on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates   

In the event of an interruption in power supplies, SSEN’s customer service team will make outbound calls to customers on our Priority Service Register (PSR) to offer extra assistance, where required. People can qualify for the PSR if they:     

  • Are dependent on electricity for home medical care
  • Have a chronic illness or short term medical condition
  • Are disabled
  • Have special communication needs
  • Have children under the age of five
  • Are over the age of 60
  • To find out more about the PSR, click here or call 0800 294 3259.

About the author

Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.7 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

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