Perth’s city centre power supplies transformed by £1.7m upgrade project

The £1.7m upgrade of Perth’s Thimblerow Substation is on schedule to be completed this month, delivering a major boost to the security and reliability of electricity supplies in the Fair City for many years to come.

Teams from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution, the company behind the cables, wires and substations delivering power to homes and businesses across northern Scotland, have been working since last November on the upgrade project, which is an essential part of keeping the power flowing to 8,000 properties in the heart of Perth.

Speaking about the Thimblerow upgrade, John Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North said:

“This is a major investment in Perth city centre by SSEN and I am pleased to hear the project is set to be completed on time. With new houses being built in Perth over recent years electricity demand has increased and so investment in the network is crucial to improve the system and secure the supply. As Scotland transitions to net zero, our local networks need to be ready to cope with more electric vehicles and decarbonised heat with greater demand for electricity from increasingly renewable sources. The Thimblerow upgrade is an important step on that journey.” 

This project forms part of an overall investment package of over £15m by SSEN’s South Caledonia region including Perthshire in the past 12 months, ensuring a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity for its customers. 

Ross Fenton, SSEN’s Head of South Caledonia Region, said:

“Our Thimblerow Substation has been a constant source of power in Perth city centre since 1965 and has seen some major changes in the surrounding buildings and local demographic over this time, which is one of the main drivers behind this upgrade, as we need to make sure our infrastructure is more than capable of meeting the increase in electricity demands from the ever-evolving local community.

“When our planning teams are formalising the logistics of a major project, they take into consideration a number of factors such as the impact of our works on the local community, how best to minimise disruption to traffic and avoid any unnecessary noise. However, and most importantly, as this vital work was due to be undertaken in the middle of a global pandemic, everything we were planning was given an extra layer of scrutiny to ensure that we were doing all we could to keep the local community and our staff safe and healthy at every stage of the project.”

A major part of SSEN’s upgrade at Thimblerow has been the delivery and installation of two new transformers, with the combined size of a double decker and each one weighing in at 36 tonnes; because of their size, they were delivered and installed in the evenings over separate weekends, the first taking place last December and the second one just a few days ago.

With all of the new equipment in place, the last part of SSEN’s project is currently going on behind the scenes, as teams carry out final testing before everything goes live at the end of this month.

All of the work on this project has been carried out without any interruption to local homes and businesses, as SSEN engineers have re-routed supplies that would normally be fed from Thimblerow to minimise disruption to the local community.

The photo on the front page shows the second transforner being delivered last weekend, and the one above shows it in place at the substation.

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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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