SSEN to use innovative aerial scanning to improve electricity network resilience

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is using innovative aerial surveying technology to improve the resilience of its electricity networks.

Nov 30, 2016 -- SSEN is currently working with NM Group to survey its network using a fleet of LiDAR equipped aircraft to model 63,000km of power lines in its Scottish and English operational areas.

The distribution network operator (DNO) is utilising NM Group’s LiDAR analytics to scan its power lines to check for any trees and vegetation, which could pose a risk to its network that could result in power cuts to its customers.

The LiDAR system uses lasers to create detailed maps, which can reveal the exact distance trees and other vegetation is to power lines. The technology is so detailed, in some areas, it can give distances as little as 2cm.

SSEN will use the extremely accurate maps to conduct tree-cutting programmes and deliver maintenance work to help its network become even more resilient.

Creating a 3D visualisation of overhead lines will reduce the need for foot patrols resulting in SSEN identifying risks to the network quicker and rectifying problems sooner. This will improve network reliability, safety and reduce any inconvenience to customers.

The use of this technology has been deployed without the use of innovation funding, evidencing the maturing of a technology that offers real safety, efficiency and reliability benefits for SSENs networks and the customers it serves.

The comprehensive data collected will allow SSEN to better plan future assets and new line connections and it will help during the design stage, which should reduce the cost and completion time for new connections.

NM Group CEO Kevin Jacobs said “We are very pleased to have been awarded this multiyear contract for Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks. The innovative use of geospatial data and our 3D Caydence® platform will be instrumental in delivering the project objectives and we look forward to collaborating with SSEN throughout this long term initiative.”

Stewart Reid, Head of Asset Management and Innovation at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, said: “The partnership with NM Group and the use of LiDAR will have a significant impact on the resilience of our network. It will help ensure we are able to identify and mitigate any risks and allow us to rectify any problems. This should result in a better security of supply to our customers.”

NM Group have started to scan SSEN’s network and it will complete the first stage of the project in March 2017.

About NM Group

NM Group ( is a specialist service provider of asset management, survey and mapping solutions to the power sector. Applying a range of remote sensing and geospatial technologies, the company offers a full range of services from data acquisition through to analytics and web applications for wider access to information.

About Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks is the trading name of Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution Limited, Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution plc and Southern Electric Power Distribution plc.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks owns and maintains the electricity transmission network north of the central belt of Scotland and owns, operates and maintains the electricity distribution networks across central southern England and north of the central belt of Scotland, including the Scottish islands.

It is responsible for delivering a safe and secure supply of electricity to a property’s meter; it does not send an electricity bill, that is the responsibility of electricity suppliers.

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