A recent project by Scottish and Southern Electricity Network (SSEN) to install technology that will help to ‘self-restore’ electricity supplies to over 150,000 customers across three areas of Oxfordshire has now been completed.

Over the last nine months, the distribution operator has invested nearly £176,000 on the automated system that will safely enable power supplies to customers in Wantage, West Wantage and West Grove to be restored faster than ever in the event of a power cut; generally in less than three minutes.

The Automated Power Restoration System (APRS) enables the electricity network powering homes and businesses to ‘self-restore’. The innovative and self-adapting system detects when, and where, there is a fault on the network, then - if safe to do so - either chooses the most suitable alternative cable circuit to switch supplies to or sends a signal to the main control room where engineers can restore power with the push of a button. All of this is done in just a matter of minutes, so many customers are unaware of the temporary interruption to their power supply.

While dramatically reducing the duration of unplanned power cuts, automation also means SSEN’s engineers can investigate the actual fault faster and resolve any network issues while power is still being supplied via alternative circuits.

As environmental impact and reducing the carbon footprint of the company is a priority for SSEN, APRS also reduces the need for engineers to physically switch power back on at source; thereby cutting unnecessary travel and allowing engineers and resources to be redirected to other areas of network maintenance.

SSEN’s Alex King, oversees the distribution operator’s automation planning. He said:

“In addition to tried and tested methods, and maintenance and upgrades to our infrastructure across Oxfordshire, we are constantly looking at new and innovative ways to improve our network to meet our customers’ needs.

“As more local homes and businesses take up low carbon technologies – such as electric vehicles, heat pumps and solar panels - SSEN is working to provide a network that is fit for the future. By investing in technology, such as APRS, SSEN is building in a further layer of resilience to electricity supplies; keeping power flowing to customers through an efficient and steady supply.”

Areas benefitting from this latest SSEN investment in automated technology are:

  • Wantage, Oxfordshire
  • West Wantage and the surrounding villages of East Challow, Childrey, Sparsholt, Westcot, Kingston Lisle and West Challow, Oxfordshire
  • West Grove and the surrounding villages of East and West Hanney, Lyford, Charney Bassett, Denchworth, Goosey and Callow, Oxfordshire

As a responsible company, SSEN works in an efficient, reliable and sustainable way which is enhanced through automation and other technologies, and helps the distribution operator to match the pace of customers’ lives while minimising disruption and inconvenience.

In Wantage alone, with an estimated uptake of 22,573 electric vehicle charge points by 2030 and the addition of nearly 7,500 heat pumps and nearly 2,500 solar panels, SSEN is developing power supplies to suit the needs of residents and businesses now and in to the future. By investing in Oxfordshire’s electricity network, SSEN is helping local communities achieve their decarbonisation ambitions through a power supply and infrastructure that's fit for purpose and fit for the future.

Over the course of the 2022 business year, SSEN is planning to invest some £3 million in automated systems across its central southern England distribution area.

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.