SSEN boosts network resilience in central southern England with £2.4 million switchgear investment

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is excited to announce it is undertaking an £2,421,221 investment programme in upgrading and replacing 11kv switchgear in four of its substations in the south of England. 

Network reliability is a key priority for SSEN and the customers its serves. Following a series of engagements with its customers SSEN has taken the decision to make the multimillion-pound investment to further improve network resilience, and future-proof its infrastructure for customer’s changing demands. This is part of SSEN’s commitment to taking a “you said, we did” approach to investing in its vital infrastructure. The substations that SSEN has identified for investment are:

  • Five Oaks, Horsham;
  • Herriard, Hampshire;
  • Basingstoke, Hampshire; and
  • Argyle Road, Bognor Regis.

Work began in March 2019, and SSEN’s engineers and contractors are due to be complete the network upgrades by February. The investment will deliver a smarter, more resilient network while reducing the potential impact of faults occurring on SSEN’s distribution network areas, resulting in power cuts. 

Switchgear comprises of individual circuit breakers (or large switches) which allows us to direct power around our network. Once installed, the switchgear allows SSEN to restore power sooner after faults occur, improving network reliability, delivering on SSEN’s customer demands. 

A recent study found that there could be over 280,000 new homes in SSEN’s southern licence area by 2032, and this investment will have an important role in future-proofing the network to accommodate an increase in demand from the households, businesses and communities it serves. This will also be driven in part by the proliferation of low-carbon technologies such as electric vehicles, heat pumps and domestic batteries. 

Stuart Hogarth, Distribution Operations Director, SSEN said: “This investment will help us deliver a more resilient, responsive network that is future-proofed for an increase in electricity demand. This switchgear investment forms just one part of the £185m we are investing in both our distribution areas up to 2022, to serve our 3.8m customers.”

As the works are completed planned supply interruptions will be required and those impacted will be contacted in advance. 

Stuart Hogarth added: “During our work we are committed to keeping disruption to a minimum as our teams work, however we may have to interrupt supplies for a short time while we connect the new equipment,  but I would encourage any customers that may require extra support to join our Priority Services Register, where 24-hour support is available for those who need extra help.”

Customers can qualify for SSEN’s Priority Services Register 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

For more information on SSEN’s Priority Services Register, please visit ssen.co.uk/PriorityServices, or to register call 0800 294 3259. Alternatively, 0800 316 5457 to register using a text phone. 

Customers are reminded that if they do lose power there are a variety of ways to get in contact with SSEN: through calling the free national power cut number 105 or by sending SSEN a message on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp 07342 028546. Live power cut updates are available on SSEN’s free Power Track app.