Flooding brings additional challenges to SSEN’s £150,000 upgrade works in Arborfield

Substation and pylon in flood water

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) engineers have encountered challenging conditions as they work to upgrade and strengthen the resilience of the electricity network serving a village in Berkshire. 

Recent bad weather and heavy rain has caused flooding to areas in the village of Arborfield, where SSEN is currently undertaking a project to build a stronger power supply for the 1,250 local homes and businesses.

The four-week long works, which will see an investment of £150,000 to carry our tree-cutting, network maintenance and upgrade, and the undergrounding of a 200m section of cable, were due for completion towards the middle of March, but as flood waters have risen in recent weeks and the safety - of both villagers and engineers - throughout any network upgrade is paramount, SSEN has postponed the completion of the project until the beginning of April. 

John Wright, Network Construction Manager for this Thames Valley project explains further: “All of the works we undertake are carefully planned and while we were prepared for the potential impact of winter weather as we embarked on the works, the local flooding has been greater than usual. Our priority for our Arborfield customers is to build them a power supply fit for the future, that will provide them with a more resilient network for now and decades to come. 

“The flooding we have encountered shows exactly why we want to make sure our rural customers are catered for and while these works will be very slightly delayed in their completion, we’re pleased that we’re helping strengthen the village’s infrastructure for whatever weather future winters will bring. 

“I’d very much like to thank the residents and business owners in Arborfield for their patience while we work to complete this project and while there are no planned outages for the remainder of these works, I’d encourage anyone who could benefit from our additional services, such as the Priority Services Register to sign up.” 

SSEN’s Priority Services Register provides free additional support for customers who may become vulnerable during a power cut. Customers can qualify for
SSEN's Priority Services Register 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

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 network outages to check they are getting the help they need. 

To find out more about the PSR, click
here, or call 0800 294 3259. For more information on all 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.  

Network reliability is a key priority for SSEN and the customers its serves. Following a series of engagements, SSEN took the decision to make the 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. 

SSEN is a responsible network operator and – as such – does all it can to keep the lights on for our customers 24/7. It also works carefully and considerately to minimise any disruption to homes and businesses in the area while carrying out essential upgrade works.