SCOTTISH Power Energy Networks has revealed contingency plans to ensure 3.5 million homes and businesses maintain their electricity supply throughout the coronavirus crisis.

The electricity distributor is also introducing special measures to protect supply for critical national infrastructure and public service sites, including hospitals, nursing homes, food supply chain businesses, Ministry of Defence sites and prisons.

As part of its contingency planning, SP Energy Networks has worked alongside other network operators, the UK Government and electricity regulator Ofgem to ensure power continues to flow throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Other major changes that SP Energy Networks is putting in place include rapid installation of new connections that will support the containment of Covid-19, including connections for hospitals, care and nursing homes, water treatment works and food supply chain businesses.

The plans involve a commitment to continue any critical maintenance and repair work that secures the resilience of the electricity network in the short and medium term to keep the power flowing – prioritising power cuts and urgent safety issues.

Any new network upgrade projects that involve planned interruption of power for customers have been postponed or cancelled – unless it assists the restoration of power supply, or if not conducting the work poses a danger to the public or staff.

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SP Energy Networks is also deploying teams to undertake connections projects that will provide additional resilience to the local or national electricity network – such as additional generation capacity to provide more power where it is needed.

These changes will be implemented with immediate effect across central and southern Scotland, as well as Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, North Shropshire.

CEO Frank Mitchell commented: “We have one of the most reliable energy networks in the world and our top priority throughout the Covid-19 crisis will be to keep the power flowing for our 3.5 million customers while ensuring critical national infrastructure sites receive the electricity supply they need.”

As a critical operational business, SP Energy Networks has already established social distancing measures and rolled out additional processes for critical frontline operational staff and control centre teams who cannot undertake their key roles from home, to ensure they can maintain operations in the event of a localised outbreak of coronavirus.

Mitchell added: “We’ve already put huge changes in place to keep our staff safe and redeployed them on priority projects that will support the UK’s national effort to tackle the coronavirus. If you see us outside your home or we visit your property during the coronavirus emergency, please be assured we are there because it is critical.

“It’s absolutely essential our network holds up against storms and high winds so our teams are working to maintain and strengthen the resilience of the network we all rely on.”