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08/12/11: Regional power network prepared for winter weather

As the first wintery weather conditions hit the North West this week, Electricity North West has completed its annual preparations, to help its customers get ready for the colder months ahead.

The region’s electricity distribution operator has fully assessed its network, rescheduled works and invested millions of pounds in a series of improvements to help maintain power supplies to residents should the weather reach extreme levels this winter.

The company, which operates the North West’s local power network, has added 10 more 4x4 vehicles to its fleet to allow engineers to tow generators to customers who may suffer weather-related power cuts – including those who would otherwise be hard to reach in ice and snow.

Engineers have also taken part in incident training exercises so that they’re fully ready to restore supplies as quickly as possible if customers do lose power due to bad weather.

Non-essential maintenance work on the network has been rescheduled outside of the Christmas and New Year holiday periods to minimise disruption for customers, although engineers will still carry out essential maintenance work for safety reasons and to avoid unplanned power cuts.

Over the past year, Electricity North West has invested over £18m to maintain and refurbish the overhead power network and ensure its reliability and security in winter conditions. The company has also carried out a tree pruning programme to prevent power cuts caused by branches falling and encroaching on the overhead power lines.   

New equipment has been installed at an additional investment of £7m which, in the case of faults on the network, will allow supplies to be restored to most affected customers while repairs are carried out.

In addition to this, to ensure all customers are helped to keep warm this winter, Electricity North West has partnered with the WRVS (formerly the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service), to provide practical and personal support to vulnerable customers in case they do find themselves without power due to faults caused by particularly severe conditions.

Vulnerable customers, such as older or disabled people, or those with a medical dependency on electricity, can sign up to Electricity North West’s Priority Services Register at www.enwl.co.uk/priority or call 0800 195 4141.

Mark Williamson, engineering services manager for Electricity North West, said: “It’s even more of a priority for us to keep people’s power on during the cold winter months.

“The work we have done to strengthen our network throughout the year will safeguard against the challenges of winter and the additional preparation and investment for extreme weather conditions puts us in a stronger position than ever to keep the lights on for our customers.”

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