SSEN says ‘leaf it out’ to trees damaging the grid

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has started using innovative 3D laser scanning technology mounted on helicopters to survey its overhead electricity network. The distribution company uses the equipment, referred […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has started using innovative 3D laser scanning technology mounted on helicopters to survey its overhead electricity network.

The distribution company uses the equipment, referred to as LiDAR, to scan how close trees are to power lines – this data is then used to carry out preventative works designed to minimise the risk of power cuts caused by branches and leaves.

The specially equipped aircraft can create maps as accurate as to two centimetres, enabling SSEN’s ground teams to carry out much more organised visits, saving time and money.

To date, SSEN has scanned 65% of its network in the north of Scotland and 99% of its network in central southern England.

Stewart Reid, Head of Distribution System Operations and Innovation at SSEN, said: “For the very first time we now have pinpoint accuracy of our electricity networks.

“This means we can target our operations, such as tree cutting, taking proactive and preventative action to help deliver a safe and reliable supply of electricity to our customers.”