SSEN’s multi-million pound investment protecting Swindon’s power supply from flood damage

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is investing nearly £3 million to elevate part of its electricity infrastructure and help protect a Wiltshire town’s power supply from the risk of flood damage. 

Residents and business owners in Drakes Way, Swindon will benefit from the £2.9 million project to raise the substation and associated equipment above the flood risk level for the area. The existing substation and transformers, housed in the Drakes Way Industrial Estate, supply power to nearly 3,000 local customers; many of which are large businesses based on the industrial estate itself, with nearby homes also reliant on the network. Concerns over potential flooding from the River Cole initiated the works that have been taking place throughout the summer months and are expected to complete in March 2021. 

The protection project involves placing network switchgear, which is sensitive to flood levels, in a specially constructed, elevated building on the existing site, with the connected transformers placed alongside on 1.8 metre high concrete plinths. The construction of the building and plinths, and the positioning of two transformers is now complete, with further equipment being installed in the run up to March 2021 and brought into service on a phased basis over the next few months; all designed to provide the area with a power supply that suits customers’ needs now and in the coming years.  

SSEN’s Project Manager for the elevation works, Peter Welsh said:  

"Our Drakes Way Primary Substation and transformers are critical to a resilient power supply to many of Swindon’s homes and businesses. We wanted to ensure that supply couldn’t be affected by rising flood water and that we had a network which could be safely accessed by our engineers throughout the year.  

“By elevating the substation and associated equipment our customers can feel confident that their power supply is robust, regardless of the weather and the potential of rising levels of the River Cole.” 

Peter continued: “This is a considerable investment, and we wanted to make sure the building and the transformers were raised and ready ahead of the worst of the winter weather. Many of our customers will be completely unaware of the works, as they have taken place in an industrial area; enabling us to move the two 27 ton transformers to their new, raised platforms without even interrupting the power supply of nearby homes and businesses.” 

SSEN’s priority is to deliver a safe and secure supply of electricity to over 3.1 million homes and businesses across central southern England. This multi-million pound investment is part of a rolling programme of works that supports delivery of this priority.