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Protecting electricity supplies

Posted on 1 May 2014 02:55 PM by BARBE1J

One of the most critical situations for a company like us to contend with is protecting our power stations in flood hit situations. So this week I witnessed first-hand the excellent work our emergency planning teams are involved in when preparing for such incidents.

On Tuesday I was at Smallfield major substation, near Horley, watching two teams made up of about 50 staff in total from across our South-East region assembling the movable flood protection barrier we have for emergency situations. The scenario was that Smallfield was threatened with rising water and the electricity supplies for much of the Crawley area needed protecting.

The teams, led by managers Bill Blackburn and Colin Gwynne, managed to get the barrier up in less than an hour during the morning and afternoon sessions – great work and reassuring for the outside partners who were there to watch. These included the Environment Agency, fire services and councils.

Safety is our top priority
Safety of our customers and our staff is always the top priority so there were specialist safety advisers on site, watching to ensure the barrier was installed correctly but also that nobody was hurt setting it up.
About 150m of the barrier was used at Smallfield although we have enough to stretch a full kilometre, costing about £1 million. We have thousands of substations across our regions and all of them are assessed regularly to ensure we are doing enough to protect them as the environment changes.

Using the barrier for real
The barrier has already been used in real-life situations – the last two times in Watford earlier this year and in Great Yarmouth in December. We offer the use of the barrier to other organisations – we like to help the communities we serve, even if our network isn’t directly at risk.

A film crew from ITV Meridian was also there along with a photographer from the Crawley News – look out for the coverage!


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