Western Isles benefit from £3.8m electricity network boost

SSEN donated a 20ft storage unit to the local kayaking club at Daliburgh School to store new kayaks recently.
SSEN donated a 20ft storage unit to the local kayaking club at Daliburgh School to store new kayaks recently.

Homes and businesses in the Western Isles are benefiting from a more resilient power supply thanks to a multi-million pound investment in the local electricity network.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) recently completed a £3.8 million programme of works to reinforce and improve the electricity network serving Uist, Barra, Eriskay and Vatersay.

The project included establishing a second 33 kilovolt (kV) electricity circuit stretching almost 30 kilometres from Drimore to Pollachar to provide greater resilience, reducing the load on the existing line and providing another route to quickly re-connect customers’ power supplies in the event of a fault on the existing circuit.

SSEN’s teams also installed an additional transformer at Pollachar substation and upgraded the high voltage network on South Uist, Barra and Eriskay to strengthen the security of supply to its customers.

Now delivered, the electricity distribution network serving the islands will be more resilient to faults which will reduce the number of supply interruptions to homes and businesses across the isles.

As its teams left the island, SSEN donated a 20ft storage unit to the local kayaking club at Daliburgh School to store new kayaks recently purchased via lottery funding.

Colin Pirie, Head of the Highlands and Islands region at SSEN, said: “The completion of this investment marks an important milestone in the delivery of one of our business plan commitments, targeting our investment where it will have the greatest benefit and improving the security of supply to our customers.

“We’d like to thank the local community for their patience and support as our teams worked over the past couple of years to deliver a stronger and more resilient power supply across the islands.”

Angus MacNeil, MP for the Western Isles, added: “This project is a very welcome investment by SSEN and will make a real difference to island residents.

“Improving the resilience of the electricity network will hopefully mean less power cuts and shorter power supply interruptions when faults do occur.

“It was interesting to meet with SSEN on site last week and see the works they have carried out and I commend the teams for their hard work in completing the project.”

In 2017, SSEN invested £730,000 to upgrade the existing electricity network on South Uist by replacing a transformer in Pollachar to provide extra capacity to cope with higher demand in the area.