SSEN completes £4.7 million Osney Island flood alleviation project

A £4.7 million programme of works by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to strengthen and protect the power supply of a riverside Oxfordshire village has been completed to budget, despite a short delay to the original schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The two-year long project will benefit the approximately 32,000 people the substation serves throughout Osney Island and Oxford. The investment has elevated the area’s substation, switchgear, and associated equipment above the risk of potential flood damage.

The unique position of Osney Island makes it susceptible to potential flooding from the River Thames and the smaller streams which surround the island; prompting SSEN to make the considerable investment to construct an elevated building to house the local substation and protect the power supply to the island and surrounding area.

Due to the nature of the works and the location within the community, SSEN took the decision to temporarily halt the project - at the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 - to ensure the safety of local residents.

Works were resumed by SSEN thereafter with enhanced hygiene and PPE measures, engineers operating in covid-safe ‘bubbles’ and extensive risk assessments carried out for every aspect of the works.

SSEN’s project manager for the Osney Island works, Darrell Kemp said:

“We’re delighted to have completed this complicated project to elevate the building housing the substation and associated equipment which provides a steady, resilient power supply to the residents of Osney Island and the surrounding Oxford area.

“SSEN’s decision to make this sizeable investment to rebuild the substation in a specially constructed building – elevated  to a height that will remain above the predicted flood level - ensures that the area’s electricity supplies are safe and secure.”

Darrell added:

“On behalf of SSEN, my team and I would like to thank the residents of Osney Island for their patience and understanding while we carried out these works which will deliver a robust power supply, regardless of the weather and possibility of rising river levels.”

Network reliability is a key priority for SSEN and the customers it serves, and this considerable project on Osney Island improves the safety and resilience of its network, while accommodating customer’s changing demands.

SSEN’s investment in this Oxfordshire riverside village also ensures a power supply and infrastructure fit for the future, to help communities achieve their decarbonisation ambitions.