Behind the scenes with our Distribution Control Centre teams..part 2

In the first of our two-part Distribution Control Centre special, we heard from Martin Taylor and learned about the changes he’s encountered since the first national Lockdown last spring; now it’s time to hear from Olivia Houston, who would normally be working in the same office as Martin, but since Lockdown started, she’s been part of the team based at our off-site contingency base.

Olivia reflects on some of the changes she’s noticed over the past 11 months she’s been working away from her usual desk in the main Distribution Control Centre (DCC).

“Overall, I think it’s fair to say that none of us expected to still be based here almost a year later, and it’s been quite an experience adapting to a working environment with far less facilities than we are all used to, you even miss the little things such as the fancy coffee machine and canteen! 

“As a team, we rely heavily on each other for side-by-side training and support and, to begin with, I was worried that it would be difficult to keep this up with all the social distancing measure in place. In the past, for example during a storm situation, we would often be sitting beside a control engineer to provide support or to enhance our own learning, and that’s something we haven’t been able to do this this past year. 

“Having said that, I’m really happy we’ve managed to overcome these challenges with some careful office planning and although it’s not as easy, we all know how important it is to follow COVID safety regulations and make sure we are all staying safe.  Just as Martin and the team do in the main DCC, we all wear our masks when we’re away from our desks, we’ve got multiple hand sanitation points throughout the building and we’re all regularly COVID-tested here too.

“On a more personal note, I started working towards my Engineering Systems qualifications in August this year. I attend college for a full day on a Wednesday which is now all at home online learning and this definitely has its own challenges – especially as my partner is working from home so we often end up stuck at the same desk all day – fine for the first few weeks but we are now turning the spare room into an office, so we have our own space! 

“It would be untrue to say that continuing to work throughout these difficult times hasn’t been challenging. However, I’m very proud of the work that everyone here has continued to carry out throughout the pandemic.  

“Our role, like many others in SSEN, is vital to ensure the security of our network and therefore strengthen the supplies we provide to our customers. This year, possibly more than ever before, the security of supply for all of those working from home, those trying to home school and our hospitals and care homes has been paramount. The part that I get to play in providing such a vital service is part of what motivates me to come to work every day.”

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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