SSEN to restart £8m improvement programme for Petersfield and Fernhurst power supplies

A multi-million pound investment by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to future-proof a significant section of its South East network is to restart after being temporarily halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The £8.4 million works to upgrade nearly 15 kilometres of SSEN’s electricity infrastructure serving the homes and businesses of Petersfield and Fernhurst, and all of the areas between the Hampshire town and West Sussex village, had started with initial groundworks in early March 2020. In compliance with social distancing measures and in order to ensure maximum safety for customers in the area and colleagues working on the project, SSEN took the decision to delay the works until such times as Government advice would allow for them to safely recommence.

While still working to strict Government guidelines on social distancing and the use of enhanced Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), SSEN will now restart these improvement works on Tuesday 26 May on Hartingcombe Road, West Sussex and on Saturday 30 May on Bedford Road, Hampshire. These working guidelines include implementing a one person one van policy, thorough safety checks in advance of any work, and maintaining a two metre distance at all times. 

The 19-month long project, which will build resilience to the area’s power supply through the undergrounding of sections of cable and the refurbishment of the primary substation on Bedford Road in Petersfield, will also allow for future commercial and residential connections. The substation element of the project alone will provide power to 10,000 customers, with the overall programme of works keeping the infrastructure resilient and secure for years to come, while the undergrounding of almost 15km of cable will provide increased security of supply by removing the reliance on the area’s overhead lines.

As SSEN is aware that customers may have concerns relating to power cuts at this time, it would like to reassure its customers that there are no Planned Service Interruptions (PSI) for the duration of these works. 

While current conditions mean that SSEN is unable to hold any public engagement events for the project, it will endeavour to keep residents and business owners in the vicinity of the works updated and able to raise any concerns they might have through a specially developed project page accessible at https://www.ssen.co.uk/petersfield-fernhurst/

SSEN’s Project Manager, Anthony Horne explains more: “When we first announced this substantial investment and upgrade, we had advised our nearby customers that we would host public engagement events to keep them updated, enabling them to meet the project team and ask any questions they might have about the works.

“Sadly, one of these planned events was cancelled, as we were keenly aware of public safety prior to lockdown, but we are also aware that our customers still want updates and to be able to contact the project team, so we have set up a specific project page containing all of the most up-to-date information on the works, along with a section enabling people to quickly get in touch with any questions or concerns.”

He added: “Prior to the initial start in March, SSEN worked very closely with local businesses, residents and local authorities to establish the smooth running of this project and I’m delighted that we’re able to recommence those plans and build a network for our customers in and around Petersfield and Fernhurst that will serve their electricity needs, now and for many years to come.

“I would also like to reassure our customers that SSEN and our project team we be will working to very strict guidelines on social distancing and appropriate PPE to keep customers and colleagues safe while we carry out these works to keep the power flowing.”

To read more about the ways in which teams are working to keep your power flowing during the coronavirus pandemic, please visit this page on our website: https://www.ssen.co.uk/covid19response/

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has set up an online project page to provide regular updates on the £8 million improvement programme as it progresses and can be accessed at https://www.ssen.co.uk/petersfield-fernhurst/.