Helping to keep the power flowing across the North East

With the nation on lockdown and a large number of the population working from home, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has a dedicated team of critical workers on the frontline who are continuing to focus on providing a safe, reliable and resilient supply of electricity. 

Ross Mitchell is one of the two Faults Managers in SSEN’s North Caledonia region, which covers a wide range of towns and cities across the mainland of north east Scotland including Aberdeen, Braemar and Peterhead as well as some of the more the remote village communities in the Cairngorms.

He explains more about his role:

“It’s my job to ensure that if there is a power cut our staff are out on site as soon as possible, to first of all make sure everything is safe and then do all they can to get the power back on for our customers. I also co-ordinate our teams’ response to any calls we receive from members of the public reporting damage to our equipment.”

Coronavirus has made us all think about what we need to do on a day-to-day basis; whether that’s at work or in the home, the focus is on keeping ourselves, our friends, our loved ones and our local community safe in these unprecedented times.

SSEN is prioritising critical work to ensure a safe and secure supply of electricity. With Ross and the Supply Restoration team designated as key workers by Government, they remain ready to respond to any faults that may develop,  but some necessary changes have been made to the way they work, to keep everyone safe.

Ross explains: 

“I’m normally based in the main Aberdeen Depot which is a real hive of activity, buzzing with colleagues going about their work. But now, everyone who can work at home is now doing so, and that includes myself. 

“These past few weeks were quite strange to begin with as I’m used to having a lot of other people around when I’m working, but I’ve now got used to it and it’s helped that from day one everyone in the team has appreciated why this new way of doing things is so important.”

Working from home can be described as “the same, but different”: 

“I’ve got my work laptop set up at home so I can use the same system as our colleagues in the Customer Contact Centre and our Distribution Control Room; that’s what we use to log and then monitor any faults coming in, it’s got all the information I need to send the right people for each job and it’s a centralised record of everything that is going on with that particular job.”

Safety has always been the number one priority at SSEN, and the coronavirus pandemic has seen the company introduce extra measures to ensure the welfare of its customers and staff, as Ross explains:

“We’ll only go to a customer’s home if we need to carry out emergency works to get their power back on. We’ve introduced a new way of working in line with Government safety advice and so, as well as strict social distancing, everything we touch gets a ‘before and after’ wipedown, and our gloves are disposed of in sealed double-bags after we leave the property.”

Ross is proud to be part of a team that is working hard to keep the power flowing in these unprecedented times:

“It’s a worrying time for us all, and the new way of working does bring its own set of challenges, but it’s been fantastic to see the way our team is rallying together to make sure everything continues to be done safely. 

“With all of the hospitals and health centres across our region relying on electricity, as well as everyone staying at home doing their bit as part of lockdown, I’m proud to be a critical worker helping to keep the electricity flowing to all our customers.”

To learn more about SSEN’s response to coronavirus, click here.

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.

Read more articles by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks