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16/08/2011: Improvements for Ormskirk's electricity network

Ormskirk residents will benefit from a major improvement to their electricity supply over the coming weeks as work is carried out to upgrade the network in the area.

The work is being carried out by Electricity North West in direct response to issues raised by local residents that were voiced by West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper. The electricity distribution company has carried out a full review of the network in the area, which highlighted recent supply interruptions due to the impact of weather, trees and birds on overhead power lines.

Electricity North West, which owns, operates and maintains the network in the region will carry out improvements to the network and is also planning to fit approximately 4.5km of overhead lines with robust insulated conductors, and equipment designed to help safely divert the flight path of birds in the area.

In addition, the company’s team of specialist tree-cutters will also work in the area to prevent overhanging branches affecting supplies.

Rosie Cooper MP said: “I very much welcome Electricity North West’s investment and efforts to tackle supply problems for their customers in West Lancashire. It is an issue on which constituents contacted me, because of the big impact it has on their daily lives given our reliance on a reliable electricity supply.

“To raise constituents’ concerns I met with the company’s chief executive, Steve Johnson to discuss the issues of supply and was assured of Electricity North West’s commitment to invest in, and to improve the electricity supply. This work will begin with network improvements. I will continue to work closely with the company to ensure that we move forward to deliver an ever improving service for local residents.”

Engineers from Electricity North West have also met with representatives from the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) at Martin Mere throughout the planning process, to ensure that the work is carried out safely for the swans and other wildfowl in the area.

Andy Wooldridge, Centre Manager, said: “Geese and swans, being very large birds, find it hard to change course at the last minute when they are in flight. Moreover, thin wires are not particularly visible in poor light conditions. Easy-to-see diverters on the electricity lines should give them a bit more warning that they are approaching the cables. Electricity North West has been fantastic in approaching us to find the means for improving both the long-term health of the birds and the electricity supply to the local community. We are really excited about this partnership and are looking forward to seeing positive results, not just for over this winter, but in years to come.”

The work will commence in September. Due to the nature of the work some short power supply interruptions will be needed, and Electricity North West will write to all affected residents to notify them of any planned interruptions during the work.

Mark Williamson, services manager for Electricity North West added: “We have worked closely with Ms Cooper and Martin Mere to ensure that our improvement programme will help to provide an improved electricity supply for customers, while also protecting the welfare of local wildlife.

“We will carry out the work as quickly as possible, and include different aspects of work simultaneously, to ensure that local businesses and homes have minimum inconvenience.”

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