Crumbling power poles and the inescapable dreich Scottish weather is a combination best avoided.
And ahead of winter, a Scottish Power project worth nearly £1 million will upgrade local power lines in north east Fife to combat the threat of power outages during bad weather.
The upgrades will bring crucial improvements to the services received by people in the area.
And the commitment by Scottish Power – the network operator responsible for maintaining and repairing the electrical equipment in the area – is to enhance their service to customers by replacing the deteriorating poles and lines during a three month project that started in north east Fife in May.
Representatives from SPIE UK – a techincal services company – have undertaken the improvement work on behalf of Scottish Power and have been visible locally to help the community understand the essential upgrades and any disruption that may be caused.
Gerard Higgins, project manager, visited Cupar Community Council on May 31 with public engagement officer Joanne Gillespie to give a presentation on upgrading of the line network in outlying areas around Cupar.
The work programme has been devised to cause as little interruption as possible to power supplies and the local community during the project, which will replace 12.6km of cables across the network, which also includes upgrading around 300 poles.
Ross O’Kane, assistant project manager, said: “We are currently working on the overhead network within the north east Fife area.
“The majority of our work is to replace ageing poles and to renew the overhead conductor from ‘open wire’ to ‘ABC’ which stands for Aerial Bunched Conductor.”
Replacing the old open wire with the new thicker, insulated cable will help reduce the risk of supply issues or power failure to customers in the area, particularly when the bad weather starts to appear.
“ABC also means that the wires will be at a higher level, allowing greater access for large vehicles where the wires may cross the road at site/farm entrances,” Ross said.
SPIE anticipate the upgrades to be completed at the start of August.
“These works are important,” explained Ross, “because the network is now starting to age.
‘‘A lot of the poles have been on the network for a number of years and wires themselves are probably of a similar age.
“For the community and the customers, the ongoing work to enhance the infrastructure means that they will have a safer, more effective power supply as well as the equipment no longer looking outdated in appearance.”
To ensure continued high performance, the circuits must be modernised using the latest materials, and Scottish Power is committed to keeping local residents and key stakeholders informed of the work. A core team of around 25 engineers and technicians have been in the area to deliver the project.
A Scottish Power spokesman said: “In our Central and Fife District, our network connects over 398,000 homes and businesses to the electricity grid, and consist of 11,450km of overhead and underground cables.”