Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is urging people to be aware of its power lines and electrical equipment, and to stay safe this summer when taking part in outdoor activities.

It follows a recent incident in West Sussex where a tow wire attached to a glider disconnected and became entangled in a section of the distribution operator’s high voltage overhead cable; causing power to be cut to some 3,250 local customers while engineers worked to safely remove the wire and check the network for damage.

Any airborne debris, such as branches, and items including kites, drones, model aircraft can become a dangerous hazard when they come in to contact with overhead power cables, as SSEN’s Head of Safety, Peter Vujanic explains:

“Firstly, I’d like to say how pleased I am that no one was injured in this particular incident. Any objects coming in to contact with a power supply, especially a high voltage supply, have the potential for extremely serious consequences.

“We want all of our customers to enjoy their summer safely and that can be done by taking simple precautions, such as moving away from overhead cables or substations when playing with kites or model aircraft, and making sure not to set up barbeques or other heat sources near any electrical infrastructure.

“Take the time to look up and look around you, and if you do happen to spot any issues or damage to our network, keep your distance and call freephone 105 straight away.”

SSEN has created a series of helpful tips that are designed to help its customers enjoy their summer, while steering clear of any electrical danger.

If an item comes in to contact with, or is blown towards, an electricity line you should:

  • Let go of any strings or wires immediately
  • Don't attempt to pull the item free, electricity can travel through the item
  • Keep yourself and others well away
  • Ring our emergency number, 105 and we will attend the site as soon as possible

Model planes and drones can travel at very high speeds. If they strike a power line or crash into a substation, they can potentially damage an important piece of equipment and cause a power cut. Although playing near substations should always be avoided, sometimes toys can get stuck inside the fence. It is important that you do not try and retrieve the items yourself, even if they look like they are in reach.

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Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We are the electricity Distribution Network Operator (DNO) responsible for delivering power to over 3.8 million homes and businesses across central southern England and the north of Scotland. We serve some of the most diverse and unique geographies across the UK, and keep customers and communities connected whilst developing the flexible electricity network vital to achieving net zero.