SSEN completes £9.7 million project providing Reading residents with a network fit for the future

A multi-million pound programme of works by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to upgrade and underground a substantial section of Reading’s distribution network has been completed; benefitting thousands of local homes and businesses through a robust power supply fit for the future.

Groundworks for the £9.7 million project to boost the Berkshire town’s infrastructure got under way in spring 2019, as SSEN began the long-term works across challenging sections of the area’s road network and recreational spaces.

Spanning a 4.2 kilometre stretch of the busy town, SSEN replaced the existing underground cable - which had reached the end of its working life - with modern, more efficient equipment to suit the needs of the area’s residents and business as they take up low carbon technologies to meet their net zero ambitions.

The route of the works ran from Vastern Road through Napier Road, before heading under the Kings Meadow Park and the Kennet canal, then along the banks of the River Thames to the A4, where the final section of new underground cable met the existing substation at Rosedale Crescent.

In addition, the substation itself was upgraded to complement the works, as was the circuit serving Northumberland Avenue area; enabling greater strength and resilience to be built in to the electricity network and significantly reduce the risk of power cuts.

SSEN’s Project Manager, Glenn Beard said:

“My team and I are delighted to complete this substantial programme of works that has brought many challenges due the various locations across the town. This project has enabled SSEN to build a network that meets our customers’ needs now and for many years to come, as they take up low carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps. 

“I’d like to thank all of our customers across Reading for their patience and understanding as we’ve worked on this multi-million pound infrastructure upgrade over the last two and half years.”

With a population of over 219,000 across the whole of Reading, the town is forecast to have as many as 1,941 electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints by the end of 2021, with that figure rising to 28,950 in 2030 and reaching 58,131 by 2050. Additionally, heat pumps installed across the Berkshire town are forecast to rise from 1,688 in 2021 to 72,342 by 2050.

SSEN’s investment in Reading ensures a power supply to suit the needs of residents now and in to the future. By upgrading this critical section of Berkshire’s electricity network, local communities and businesses can achieve their decarbonisation goals, so as more customers turn to low carbon technologies such as EVs and heat pumps, they have a supply and infrastructure that’s fit for purpose.