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Rewards in East Devon

A £300,000 network refurbishment project to replace low voltage poles and overhead lines in East Devon has been completed.

WPD staff replace overhead lines in a suburban street

The East Devon Maintenance and Replacement team has been working to remove and replace steel and wooden poles that are in poor condition in the areas of Exmouth, Hemyock and Budleigh Salterton.

As well as improving network reliability and increasing capacity for around 500 customers, the work will have a positive visual impact on the landscape.

But the project hasn’t been without its challenges.

Exeter Team Manager Jake Ramsden, who oversaw the project, explained: “The team worked to remove deteriorated cable, upgrade conductors and replace decayed steel poles, which meant necessary road closures and arranged shutdowns.

“On jobs like this, it is so important that we are interacting with are customers to make sure that we cause as little disturbance as possible. This meant liaising with contractors regularly, one example being to ask them to place standing poles in advance to minimise disturbance and supply interruptions.”

Team Manager Ian Cornall, who also supervised the works, said: “Due to the number of customers and undertaking major refurbishment in a densely populated area, we have spent a lot of time liaising with councils and dealing with traffic management to make sure we have segregated the work areas efficiently, to protect the public from the construction areas. We also placed extensive signage and used letter dropping in the area to keep locals informed.”

The hard work has paid off as WPD colleagues working on the scheme have made a lasting impression on residents – and for all the right reasons. The team has been praised for their efficiency by local people who have supported the work.

Jake continued: “Many of the residents have commented favourably on the benefits, and the fact that they now have clearer views. They’ve been great. They’ve got to know our staff and we’ve been able to resolve any queries or issues there and then, which has been appreciated.

“Traffic is very busy in the area and passers-by have stopped and commented how good the guys have been with parking and looking out for pedestrians’ safety while the work takes place. One resident said she was very happy with how the new equipment looks compared to the old, which is great for us to hear.”

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  • Operational