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Major power project to boost Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire

Work is underway to boost the reliability of power supplies for homes and businesses across Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire – in one of the region’s biggest electricity infrastructure investments for years.

From Press releases - 5 December 2018 12:00 AM

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A £35million project by UK Power Networks alongside its Alliance partners Kier, Wood and Morrison Utility Services will see a new 132,000-volt underground cable installed at Little Barford and a new Supergrid transformer installed at National Grid’s substation at Eaton Socon, increasing the electricity network capacity by 240MVA.

The project will also see electrical equipment dating from the 1960s replaced at Little Barford substation to ensure the continued security of supply to 190,000 customers locally. This will effectively future-proof power supplies in Bedford, Huntingdon and Cambridge and promote the connection of additional low carbon electricity generation.

The new cable route will cover a distance of 3km, and the use of directional drilling will minimise disruption. The work has been planned without needing road closures or power outages.

Initial demolition work of concrete supporting structures has already taken place, and directional drilling has started on the project. The new electrical equipment will be energised next autumn (2019) with completion expected in 2023.

Geraint Hancock, project manager for UK Power Networks, said: “This is one of our largest Alliance projects in recent years, and a hugely important piece of work for our continued delivery of safe and reliable power supplies.

“Little Barford has a long history dating from the 1940s and this investment will ensure it will remain a robust asset in the future with the new cable connection to Eaton Socon making a significant and positive difference with increased low carbon technology.

“This is an outstanding example of UK Power Networks and its Alliance partners working together, alongside other organisations such as the National Grid, to ensure homes and businesses in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire see a real and lasting benefit in terms of network security.”

UK Power Networks introduced its ED1SON Alliance in 2015, a partnership of four key contractors implementing major infrastructure projects.

The company delivers electricity supplies across London, the South East and East of England, and this is part of the £600 million annual investment to upgrade and maintain its networks - as part of a £6.6 billion investment during the eight years to 2023.

UK Power Networks is the most reliable network in the country – with the average customer only experiencing a power cut every 2.5 years on average (a 40% improvement since 2010).