photo of truss towers

SSEN electricity update 22nd November

Following the recent 2 power cuts in West Challow, we have emailed Craig Rankin, Head of SSEN Ridgeway, with our concerns (see below). We encourage villagers to complain to any SSEN contacts they have had in the past and/or to local political supporters. If you wish to email Craig Rankin directly his email address is:
Jean & Eoin Lees


Dear Mr Rankin,
You no doubt recall the protracted problems with 13 power cuts encountered by West Challow residents last Christmas and New Year. We appreciate that you managed to secure a larger 315kVA transformer before Christmas 2021and that the installation of the transformer last Thursday took less than the 3 hours allocated. However, we fear that the new transformer does not look like the long term solution that you promised.
On Thursday 18th November SSEN replaced the old, existing West Challow 200kVA transformer with a 315kVA transformer. On Saturday 20th November morning the entire red phase supply in the village lost power and one of the 200 Amp red phase fuses was replaced by SSEN engineers. This Monday morning was even colder and at 08:15, once again the entire red phase supply went off. This time SSEN engineers replaced both 200 Amp fuses on the red phase with 315 Amps. As a precaution, the engineers replaced all the other 200 Amp fuses on the other 2 phases.
The villagers are understandably very frustrated and angry that after all our negotiations with SSEN since November 2019 that even when we have not reached the peak of winter and Christmas itself that the power supply system is not reliable.
Clearly the situation requires further, urgent investigative work by SSEN to establish the following:
Is the present imbalance in the 3 phases different from the last time measured by SSEN when it was not in the peak of winter, e.g. are most of the heat pumps in the village connected to the red phase?
Is there a fault in either of the 2 overhead red phase wires that go round the village?
Is there a power factor problem on the load demanded on the red phase?
Is there a problem with the recently installed transformer itself and is it a brand new transformer?
We believe urgent monitoring of the electricity demand on each wire on the 3 phases is an essential starting point and trust that you will be able to enact this immediately.
We understand that increasing the fuse rating on all 6 wires to 315 Amps each will help the short term solution but would like reassurance that the 315 Amp fuses do not risk the long term performance of this transformer. We ask this because with the old 200kVA transformer, the short term 315 Amp fuse on the red phase was removed after a certain amount of time due to the risk of overheating. Will this be the case again and hence more power cuts ensuing?
The original intention of SSEN was to install an additional transformer, taking the total 3 phase supply from 200 kVA to 400kVA for West Challow. We remain concerned that this was a better solution than the single 315 kVA transformer for the longer term, given the new housing developments planned. We are pleased you have secured wayleave permission for the siting of a new transformer from the new owner of Manor Farm in West Challow and this could be the best way forward.
We look forward to receiving your answers to all our concerns.
Jean & Eoin Lees