ScottishPower is looking to upgrade its infrastructure to improve service offerings for customers based in central Scotland, Merseyside and north and mid-Wales. If the proposal is approved work will begin in 2015 and take eight years to complete.
Speaking on the project, ScottishPower energy networks chief executive Frank Mitchell said: “To keep driving improvements and deliver more advanced and smarter infrastructure, which will bring real benefits for customers, we need to invest significantly in our network.”
Modernising energy infrastructure
The scheme would see ScottishPower carry out maintenance work on 40,000 miles of underground cables, 25,000 miles of overhead lines and 30,000 substations. Many of the cables and stations currently in use were built in the 1950s-1970s and the energy supplier believes that need to be replaced.
The initiative would also modernise and reinforce power cables in rural areas to minimise the risk of power cuts due to severe weather conditions. This could help avoid situations such as the power shortages which affected more than 3000 households in Scotland this March.
ScottishPower has announced that any customers who lose power as a result of the work will receive double compensation payments.
Approval from Ofgem pending
The project has yet to be approved by Ofgem ,which will examine the proposals to ensure customers benefit from any changes. A decision is expected in November 2013.
Should the plans be accepted, approximately £90 million would be spent on recruiting and training the 2500 people needed to carry out the upgrades. This would represent the largest investment made in infrastructure by the energy supplier.
This initiative is part of ScottishPower’s drive to reduce costs associated with maintaining outdated pylons and power cables and increase the use of renewables. A successful project could result in cheaper energy for customers.