Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution is now operating at Yellow Alert because of the seriousness of the bad weather battering parts of Scotland.
With very high winds and storms forecast for the north of Scotland over the next few days, SHEPD has put into place its contingency plans with hundreds of additional staff on the ground and in its customer call centres. Wind speeds of up to 85mph are forecast for the Western Isles, reaching up to 70mph on the mainland.
Strong winds, combined with heavy snowfalls pose a risk to the electricity network, and over the past four years, SHEPD has invested £162 million to ensure that its overhead lines, underground cables and substations are able to withstand the challenges of the ever-changing Scottish climate.
SHEPD monitors the weather five days in advance, and this has allowed the company to take pre-emptive steps to ensure that the correct numbers of staff are deployed in the areas where the storms are forecast to hit. This, coupled with the major investment in its network, means that the company is fully prepared to respond quickly and safely to any damage the high winds may cause to its equipment.
Rodney Grubb, SHEPD’s head of operations, said: “We can’t control the weather, but what we can control is where we target our investments to make our network as strong as possible.
“Ahead of this winter we’ve carried out an extensive campaign of work to make sure that our network is as robust and resilient as it can be, as part of our commitment to keeping the lights on all year round.
“As well as working on our overhead lines and other parts of the network, we’ve continued to hold meetings with community groups and local resilience committees across our distribution area, and these have been invaluable in sharing our own experience of preparing for winter and offering the communities useful help and advice.”
“We’re proud of the long standing relationship we have with the local communities where we live and work, and appreciate only too well the challenges that a traditional Scottish winter can bring and would like to reassure everyone that we will continue to do as much as we can to keep the lights on for all our customers.”