Power firm spends an extra £10m to keep the lights on this winter

OUTHERN Electric has pumped almost £10 million into improving power lines and equipment in the Romsey and New Forest areas.

It is part of a £90million project to upgrade the company’s regional network in a bid to ensure supplies withstand severe winter weather.

Besides improvements to the line network in the Romsey, New Forest and Southampton areas, work has been carried out at electricity substations. These include sites in Bridge Road and Woodley Lane and Cupernham in Romsey. A Southern Electric spokesperson said the work included automating local, neighbourhood substations, which will allow supplies to be switched to another source quickly if there is a power cut. “This also helps engineers find the fault that is causing the power cut on the network and more quickly,” added the spokesperson. Southern Electric engineers based at the company’s Castle Malwood depot in Minstead are putting emergency plans in place so that they can quickly deal with potential power problems should severe weather hit Hampshire this winter.

Operations manager at Castle Malwood, Sally Maynard said: “Our goal is to keep the lights on 24-hours a day, seven days a week but sometimes events outside our control, such as bad weather, can lead to power cuts. When this happens, our first priority is to get electricity back to normal as quickly as possible and our staff will work around the clock to do that. We have invested millions in making our network more robust and have also made a real effort over recent years to make it easier for customers to access information and communicate with us.” The electricity giant has issued a 24-hour emergency telephone number for the public to call should severe weather result in the loss of power supplies. The number is 08000 727282 and people who have disabled or elderly relatives who rely on power for medical equipment such as ventilators, dialysis machines or stairlifts, are asked to call the company’s 24-hour priority services number 0800 294 3259 so that they can be added to the register – ensuring that they get a quick response from the priority services team if power supplies go down.

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