'Ready together, whatever the weather' - SSEN encourages its customers to prepare for winter

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is encouraging its customers to prepare for the colder months ahead and the potential for extreme winter weather to cause disruption to electricity supplies.

The UK’s electricity networks are amongst the most reliable in the world, with the number and duration of power cuts reducing steadily and significantly over the last 20 years. SSEN owns and operates the electricity distribution networks in the north of Scotland and central southern England and works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to maintain, upgrade and invest in its networks to deliver a safe and secure supply of electricity to its customers.

This year, SSEN is investing around £220 million to upgrade and strengthen the overhead lines, underground cables, electricity poles and substations delivering power to over 3.8 million customers, with approximately £10 million invested in automated technology to minimise disruption when faults occur.

While SSEN has well established resilience plans and is fully prepared for whatever extremities this year’s weather may bring, customers are being encouraged to take some simple, practical steps to be ready together with SSEN to strengthen their resilience, including:

  • Signing up to SSEN’s free Priority Services Register, or finding out if a friend or family member could benefit from the scheme, that supports customers who may need extra help during a power cut;
  • Downloading SSEN’s free Power Track app, which provides live updates on faults and restoration times. Customers can also report power cuts and network damage directly to SSEN via the app;
  • Saving the 105 free-to-call national power cut number to their phone contacts

Colin Nicol, Managing Director, Networks at SSEN, said:

“Providing a safe and secure supply of electricity to the 3.8m homes and businesses we serve requires a continuous programme of focused investment in our network, including major upgrades to the critical infrastructure people rely on every day.

“This rolling programme of investment means our network is resilient for the vast majority of the time; but extreme winter weather, including high winds, heavy snow, thunderstorms and lightning, has the potential to cause damage to our equipment and disrupt supplies.

“As a responsible network operator, we want to ensure our customers are prepared for the possibility of disruption and we’re encouraging everyone to take some simple, free steps to help improve their resilience so we can be ready together this winter and beyond.”

Being prepared ahead of bad weather is something that is especially important for customers who may need extra help during a power cut, including the elderly, disabled and families with small children.  It is particularly important for those who may rely on electricity for specialist and often life-saving medical equipment such as a kidney dialysis machine or ventilator.  That’s why SSEN offers extra help and support to ensure its customers are cared for through its free Priority Services Register (PSR).

By registering for SSEN’s PSR, customers will be proactively contacted to warn them of potential bad weather to help them prepare and to offer extra support where required. SSEN’s teams will also keep in close and regular contact with its PSR customers during power cuts to check they are getting the help they need.

Over 700,000 of SSEN’s customers are already signed up for the service, but SSEN is aware that there are still some customers who may not realise they are eligible for the scheme that provides extra support during power cuts.

Customers can qualify for the PSR if they:

  • Are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Have a disability
  • Live with children under five
  • Are blind or partially sighted
  • Have a chronic illness
  • Use medical equipment/aids reliant on electricity
  • Are over 60

For more information on the support available from SSEN, and for helpful advice on preparing for and dealing with a power cut, please visit ssen.co.uk/ready-together.  

About the author

Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.8 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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