Behind the scenes with our Distribution Control Centre teams..revisited

A safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity has never been more important, and SSEN’s Distribution Control Centre (DCC) is a round-the-clock operation, with its teams of staff playing a critical role in keeping the power flowing for all the homes, businesses, care homes and hospitals across northern Scotland.

Last year, around the time of the first national Lockdown, we caught up with Martin Taylor and Olivia Houston  from the DCC, to learn more about their roles as critical workers during the pandemic and how they were adapting to the changes we all had to make to keep ourselves, our colleagues and our families safe.

What started out as “the new normal” has gradually shifted into becoming “the norm”, with face coverings, social distancing and regular hand-sanitising now second nature to most of us, and so we thought it would be interesting to see how Martin and Olivia have been getting on since we ran their first articles and learn more about any changes that have evolved in their day-to-day work.

In the first of this two-part “Behind the scenes special”, Martin takes us through some of the main changes he’s noticed over the last 11 months.

“Our primary focus has always been on helping to keep the power flowing for our customers, and that’s not changed over the past 11 months; however, one thing that is noticeable is the fact that there is a lot more work going on now on the network compared to last year and the first lockdown. I think this is down to the hard work from our teams both behind the scenes and out in the field, adapting the way they do things to make sure they’re complying with the ever-evolving restrictions. A good example of this is liaising with our customers ahead of, and during jobs, discussing the logistics of the tasks they need to do, such as access to the land or property and the spaces where they’ll be working in to ensure everyone stays safe as the job gets done.

“There’s been two big changes in the DCC itself, the first being that we’re all regularly testing for COVID-19 several times a week during our shift rota cycles, and our office space now has glass panels between workstations and walking access areas. 

“Sanitation products and hand washing facilities are still widely available across the office and using them is now such a normal thing to do, you don’t even think about it, and face coverings are also worn when we’re moving about the office area.

“Although I have to leave home and attend the DCC for work, as an essential worker I’m happy that I’m kept safe at all times due to the procedures and environmental changes that have been carried out in the DCC. Also, being able to leave the house on a regular basis has been a real benefit to my mental health.

“I feel privileged that I’m still part of an essential team of workers keeping the electricity supply running smoothly for all the North of Scotland.”

The above photo shows Martin at work earlier this month.

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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