Power engineers commuted to work by boat to deliver a £100,000 electricity network upgrade for residents at Pharaoh’s Island in Shepperton.
UK Power Networks has installed and energised new electricity substation equipment to maintain reliable electricity supplies for residents on and off the island.
The new equipment has modern automation, enabling engineers to quickly reconnect electricity supplies in the area if a power cut was ever to happen.
Alex Young, a field engineer who led the project at UK Power Networks, says: “It has been a memorable job. The most challenging part is that our substation is on an island on the River Thames and the only way to get there is via a boat.
“The logistics of getting a three-tonne transformer, cabling and switchgear onto the island meant we needed to hire a barge, crane and enlist specialist boat people who know the river.
“I always like a challenge, so I have enjoyed working on this project.”
Every day, for about three weeks, the team met at Shepperton Lock and were taken to the island by boat. They installed approximately 300-metres of new cabling and replaced a 1950s transformer with modern new equipment which can be remotely controlled from the company’s control centre.
The network investment will not only improve network resilience for 23 homes on the island, but will also improve network reliability for about 200 homes in the surrounding area.
In the past, if there was a fault, engineers needed to reach the island by boat to reconnect supplies. The introduction of automation will reduce the need for engineers to reach the island.
Alex adds: “With automation we can restore more power supplies within the first three minutes. The new equipment has fault path indicators and tele-control, so if we can see where the fault is our control engineers can restore supplies on the healthy circuits.”
Pharaoh’s Island once belonged to Admiral Nelson and was used as a fishing retreat. It was purchased by the Treasury and given to Admiral Nelson after the Battle of the Nile in 1798 and most of the island’s 23 homes have Egyptian names.
UK Power Networks is investing £600 million in the electricity network across the South East, London and East of England this year. More than eight million homes and businesses are connected to electricity via the company’s cables and substations and there are over 53,000 kilometres of underground and overhead power lines in the South East alone.