Scottish and Southern Electricity Network (SSEN) has installed technology designed to ‘self-restore’ electricity supplies in the event of a power cut.
The Automated Power Restoration System (APRS) detects when and where there is a fault on the network, and then either chooses a suitable alternative cable circuit to switch supplies to or alerts the main control room to the problem to allow engineers to restore power.
This can be done in a matter of minutes, reducing the time consumers are without power in the event of unplanned power cuts. Additionally, automation allows engineers to see the cause of the fault faster, allowing them to resolve issues whilst consumers are being served by alternative circuits.
APRS has been installed across Wantage, West Wantage and West Grove in Oxfordshire as part of a £176,000 project over the past nine months.
“In addition to tried and tested methods, and maintenance and upgrades to our infrastructure across Oxfordshire, we are constantly looking at new and innovative ways to improve our network to meet our customers’ needs,” said SSEN’s Alex King, who oversees the distribution operator’s automation planning.
“As more local homes and businesses take up low carbon technologies – such as electric vehicles (EVs), heat pumps and solar panels – SSEN is working to provide a network that is fit for the future. By investing in technology, such as APRS, SSEN is building in a further layer of resilience to electricity supplies; keeping power flowing to customers through an efficient and steady supply.”
SSEN highlighted that in Wantage alone there is estimated to be 22,573 EV charge points by 2030 as well as nearly 7,500 heat pumps and nearly 2,500 solar panels.
The network operator is planning to invest £3 million in automated systems across its central southern England distribution area during 2022. This forms part of its wider efforts to modernise its network, including projects such as its flexibility focused TRANSITION project and its EV focused CLEVER project.