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End of the lines

11/06/2018

A network improvement programme which included undergrounding 600m of overhead lines and upgrading an underground substation has been completed in a Dorset village.

Our colleagues working to remove overhead power lines in the village of Loders have been praised for their efficiency by local people who have supported the work and the impact it will have on the community.


Members of the South Somerset team rolling up the wires. 

Team Manager Alex Chamberlain, who is overseeing the project, said: “Many of the residents have commented favourably on the benefits. The work will have a huge impact on visual amenity and network reliability will be further secured.

“WPD has one of the highest percentages of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks within its network territory. A steering committee with representatives from environmental groups has been established to create a shortlist of undergrounding schemes for consideration. In this way, environmentalists have a key role in deciding which sites are the most iconic and should benefit from investment.”

The £250,000 scheme involved removing all overhead services, including 600m of low voltage mains wires, plus upgrading an underground substation and pole mounted transformer, as well as replacing three high voltage poles.

Crewkerne Underground Technician Dave Kirby, who worked on the project, explained its complexities and benefits: “The remote location and access to the village of Loders made the job difficult, as the only other access road for residents was cut off in 2016 by a landslide. 

“As we had to close the road to complete parts of the work this presented some difficulties, but with our contractors liaising with the residents, everyone working together and agreeing on times when we could close the road with no vehicle access, the scheme was achieved.

“We were on tight timescales due to the closure of the roads, meaning we had few windows of opportunity to carry out the works without causing major disruption to vulnerable communities that rely on trade.

“The work will not only improve visual impact for the village, but it will also further secure the network to maintain supplies for rural communities during faults and maintenance works.”

The project took six months to complete with a team of 40 staff working on a part of the network that serves approximately 100 homes and a primary school. 

Alex commended the work of Crewkerne Overhead Technician Larry Mills and Planner Scott Walker, who spent the weeks leading up to the start of the project planning and communicating with property owners on what excavation works would take place near their homes.
 

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