We have undertaken a mammoth task over the last two weeks to ensure the safety, security and resilience of our power supplies to NHS and private hospitals, care homes and other healthcare facilities at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19.
Working with the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments, we have been working around the clock to protect power supplies to critical sites such as hospitals and care homes – including new field hospitals like the NHS Louisa Jordan in Glasgow and the six planned field hospital sites for North Wales – as well as food supply chain businesses and key national security facilities that must keep working to support and protect us all.
This is part of a package of special measures and new ways of working we have introduced to ensure frontline services, businesses and domestic customers can all be confident in relying on our energy networks to get us through the current crisis.
- an enhanced inspection and monitoring regime – focused around the priority sites
- continued critical maintenance and repair work that secures the resilience of the electricity network and keeps the power flowing
- prioritisation of works to provide additional capacity and more electricity where it is needed
- constant monitoring of energy usage to ensure supply continues to meet the changing demands of how we’re now working and living
- using new technologies to monitor network performance
Given the vital role of the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic, a comprehensive review of our infrastructure around 56 large NHS and private hospitals across central and southern Scotland, north-west England and North Wales has been undertaken.
This has involved extensive checking of overhead lines and cables, as well as inspections of around 120 substations and other supporting infrastructure across the country. Identified repairs and modifications have been carried out – as required – to ensure the power stays on and life-saving support can continue to be provided 24/7.
Additional monitoring has also been introduced to ensure any potential issues are identified and addressed as quickly as possible, with some sites which would previously been checked every few months or annually now being inspected on a weekly basis.
Scott Mathieson, our Network Planning and Regulation Director, said: “While we know our hospitals and healthcare facilities already benefit from good power supplies – supported by robust contingency plans – it’s never been more essential to ensure critical electricity supplies are maintained and enhanced at these key sites.
“Across the country the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments have been bolstering the capacity of our NHS by setting up specialist field hospitals alongside dedicated testing and treatment sites. We’ve been actively playing a crucial role in this process – working with our partners in government to make sure these facilities have the connections, capacity and resilience they need to adequately fight the spread of the virus.
“That includes support for the herculean efforts to transform venues across the country into new hospitals such as the NHS Louisa Jordan, which is currently taking shape in Glasgow, and the development of six field hospitals within leisure and education premises in North Wales. Responsive, reliable and resilient power supplies will be vital to getting these facilities up and running and that’s exactly what we’re working to deliver.
“We are proud to be part of the efforts to power our NHS through the COVID-19 pandemic and my thanks go to the many colleagues working across the business to keep our NHS working and saving lives.
“While this involves an incredible team effort, it is just one aspect of the critical works we are undertaking in these unprecedented times to ensure the power stays on and people can continue to live well, work and stay connected to the family and friends they are unable to visit.
“I can assure all our customers we are only doing essential works at this time, and I would ask people to keep this in mind if they see our colleagues working in their local community – we are all in this together.”