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Electricity distributor is ‘pulling out all the stops’ to maintain network for ‘NHS heroes and communities across Merseyside’

Electricity distributor is ‘pulling out all the stops’ to maintain network for ‘NHS heroes and communities across Merseyside’

by Danielle Thompson (April 2020)

AN ELECTRICITY distributor has taken on a ‘mammoth task’ this month to ensure power supplies to the NHS, private hospitals, care homes and other healthcare facilities across Merseyside at the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus.

SP Energy Networks is working around the clock to protect power supplies as well as food supply chain businesses and key national security facilities that must keep working to support and protect the public.

As part of the effort, a preventative inspection of overhead lines serving Clatterbridge Hospital identified a faulty switch and a dedicated team was quickly dispatched to replace it – with no supply interruption to the hospital or the surrounding customers. The new switch is now fully operational and securing the power supply to Clatterbridge Hospital, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and Claire House Hospice, which all support extremely vulnerable patients and families.

The extensive proactive work underway is being complemented by a fast action response from SP Energy Networks teams and contractors to ensure critical supplies can be maintained.

In just seven days across Merseyside, this included essential repairs – completed by teams working within government guidelines – such as:

- A cable fault on the extra high voltage network that supplies Aintree University Hospital and the Walton Centre (specialist neurology and neurosurgery facility) as well as the wider population of Fazakerley. A team of ten took just 30 hours to locate the fault, access the cable, repair the fault, reinstate the ground and return the supply, which had been diverted to a lower voltage network, to service.

- A second fault on the network serving Aintree University Hospital, the Walton Centre and Fazakerley. This was a challenging repair – complicated by its location in the middle of a 4-lane dual carriageway and requiring extensive traffic management. Despite these complexities, a team of 15, working in conjunction with a specialist traffic management company, completed the works in just five days.

- A cable fault in the Bootle area, where ongoing repair works were already underway. Working in conjunction with control room colleagues, a team of ten worked to reconfigure the network and worked overnight to complete the repair.

Power supplies were maintained for all customers while these essential repairs were carried out.

Andy Churchman from SP Energy Networks said: “Delivering a vital and essential electricity supply that is a lifeline for the country is what we do day in and day out, but it’s never been more important than it is now.

“While most people will be unaware of the work we’re continuing to do to power the NHS and the country through the coronavirus, you only have to think about what would happen if the power went off to appreciate why what we’re doing provides such an essential service.

“I’m very proud to see our teams respond in a positive and proactive way to ensure our network is operating as it should be. Providing such a rapid response – including working through the night where necessary – in the event of power supply interruptions is no mean feat and is testament to our commitment to keeping any impact on our customers to an absolute minimum.

“These cables power tens of thousands of homes and businesses and we often have to dig out around 30-40 tonnes of material before we can even get to the cable to identify and start the repair work. Our teams are an absolute credit to us and are really pulling out all the stops to maintain a robust and reliable electricity network for our NHS heroes, people and communities across Merseyside. We will continue to do all we can to keep them powering through.”

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