We recently asked Western Power Distribution for an update on the situation in Rattery.
Here are their Area Manager's answers to our questions.
Is Rattery particularly vulnerable in any way?
Rattery is now in fact more secure than it was in the past because previously the network feeding the village was a spur arrangement but it is now part of a ring. In that we laid an interconnecting cable between the line to Rattery and a line from Buckfastleigh. Connecting at Pennywell Farm in 2013. This gives the network the capability to be fed from either direction in case of a fault at any time. This interconnector can be operated by remote control from our control room saving the need to rely on staff physically visiting site.
We also renewed the poles and lines to the surrounding area at Parklands Farm in 2014. As part of our ongoing maintenance program which for information is that we inspect and change the poles every 7 years. Cut the tree’s within proximity every 5 years and inspect the line by helicopter every 2 years.
Are there any issues affecting the reliability of power supply in the Parish?
None that I am aware of at present. We did experience back in the end of October a pole that failed in service we believe due to a previous lightning strike near Parklands Nursery. These things do happen from time to time due to the majority of the circuit being constructed in overhead line which is exposed to the elements and wild life.
Do we experience more or fewer power cuts than other areas ?
Reliabilty has definitely improved over the last 10 years and most definitely due to the work we have carried out. You have no more cuts than any other rural overhead network.
What should we do in the event of a power cut ?
Please let us know as soon as possible by calling 105. We don’t always know your power has been cut in localised incidents.
The system in your locality on the high voltage network works on an auto-reclosing set up. In that if the line is struck by lightning or hit by a falling tree it will immediately cut off and wait for 10 seconds and then try to switch back on in the hope that the problem was only transient.
Before this system the line would cut off and stay off while local staff members travelled to site to investigate and isolate the problem and in the majority of cases the problem had since passed.
If you have a series of these short interruptions this possibly means there is a more persistent problem and staff will be called by our control room to attend. We aim to restore supplies to 85% of customers within the first hour.