SSEN and MERT join forces to support Highland communities this winter

As part of its annual winter preparations, SSEN held a virtual meeting with the Medical & Emergency Response Team (MERT) for the Highlands, sharing plans and ways of working to ensure that local communities will continue to get the best level of support available if storms and bad weather lead to power cuts.

SSEN’s Customer Relationship Managers work all year round to strengthen their existing links with community stakeholders, welfare groups and charities and with traditional methods of engagement temporarily off the table during the coronavirus pandemic, virtual meetings have proved to be a great way of maintaining these all-important links.

Earlier this month, SSEN’s Customer Relationship Managers, Shona Horn (North Caledonia Region covering the North East and Shetland) and Pamela Harvey (Highlands and Islands Region) had a virtual meet-up with Alan Smith from MERT (Highlands). 

Alan explains more about the group’s background and how this virtual meeting has helped with their winter preparations:   

“Our team was set up to provide support to communities and organisations, such as SSEN, during times of emergency or significant incident.  In 2018 we received a grant from SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund, and that allowed us to upgrade our communications equipment which we would deploy to an incident.

“This virtual meeting allowed us to discuss our current capabilities and how they could be utilised during adverse weather and particularly during prolonged power outages where communication support or welfare assistance may be required. As winter approaches it’s great for our team to have named contacts who can support the team and who we can update regarding our capabilities as the team develops.”

Speaking after the meeting, Shona and Pam highlighted the importance of everyone being prepared for the impact that winter weather and storms can have:

“Meeting with Alan and his colleagues has been a great way of not only learning about their own plans for the winter months, it has given us the opportunity to ensure that SSEN is able to offer them as much support as possible should the weather do its worst and cause a power cut. 

“We’d encourage all our customers to take a few minutes to think about what they would do in a power cut, and if they would require any extra support, remember our Priority Services Register is here to help.”

For advice on how to prepare for a power cut, please click here and to learn more about the free help and support that SSEN’s Priority Services Register can offer, please click here.

The accompanying photo shows a MERT team member in the Joint Operational Control Room at Belladrum Festival 2019.

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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