T&D World Magazine

Multi-Million Pound Project to Upgrade UK Electricity Network

A £3-million project to replace overhead electricity lines with underground cables across part of Essex, England is due to be completed this month.

EDF Energy Networks started work in May to complete the remaining dismantlement of 9 km of overhead lines between Thundersley and South Benfleet, near Basildon. Previously work had been carried out to lay the underground cables along the route and remove overhead lines from land near the Sadler’s Farm Roundabout, to provide a clear route for major road improvements by Essex County Council.

The project has been designed to help to ensure reliable electricity supplies to customers in the area in future.

EDF Energy Networks project manager Chris Sugars said: “We wanted to upgrade the existing overhead line and took the decision to achieve this by replacing it with underground cables. “Underground cables are usually less susceptible to damage than overhead lines - which can sometimes be affected by high winds and storms leading to power interruptions for customers.”

In related work, a £400,000 project to install about 2 km of underground electric cables in a Hertfordshire town is nearing completion. The work in Turnford has taken place as a part of a scheme by EDF Energy Networks to replace fluid-filled underground cables with state-of-the-art alternative cabling. The existing cables contain oil as an insulator but new technology means this is no longer necessary so EDF Energy has invested £58million to replace them in the last five years.

EDF Energy Networks is the largest electricity distribution network owner in the UK, covering the East of England, the South East and London and serving over a quarter of the UK's population. It is investing £459million this year in improvement projects on the electricity distribution networks it operates in these three areas.

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