Work starts on refurbishing decades-old electricity poles

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Essential electricity upgrade work has started on islay and Jura to make sure islanders  get a robust and resilient power supply.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is investing approximately £1 million on refurbishing the existing 500 wooden electricity poles on Jura  that have been delivering power for around 60 years.

That work should be finished by the end of November and is part of a multi-million pound programme of investment to upgrade the electricity network serving both islands.

Salt water has been eroding equipment on the wooden pole circuit from Lagg towards Islay over the decades.

Ross Fenton, Head of South Caledonia Region at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, said: ‘These works form part of a long-term investment plan to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to our customers on the islands.’

But to carry out the work safely, it means the single-circuit that delivers electricity to Jura needs to be de-energised and mobile generators have to be used to keep lights on in island homes and keep communities connected.

‘While we always look to minimise the use of backup generation on our networks, in order to maintain power supplies we need to use mobile generators to keep the lights on and keep communities connected during this period.

‘We are committed to keeping disruption to a minimum and we’d like to thank our customers for their patience as our engineers complete these essential works as quickly as possible,’ said Mr Fenton.

As Jura’s electricity network serves as the main circuit powering Islay, SSEN will also run Bowmore Power Station from 7am to 8pm then switch back to the main line overnight until investment works on Jura are complete.

On Islay, SSEN is also proposing to install an additional wooden pole overhead line circuit between Port Askaig and Port Ellen to make the island’s electricity network more resiliant.

A SSEN spokesman said the maintenance work was not related to a 48-hour power cut on Colonsay in April, which was caused by a fault on the subsea cable between Islay and Colonsay.