New emergency hub opened by utility firm

Following almost £1milllion of expenditure on upgrading and refurbishing their depot in Galashiels, SP Energy Networks opened the facility on Friday.

The revamped facility will operate as the company’s main operations hub in the Scottish Borders and will act as a base for managing all maintenance and improvement works on the electricity network in the area.

The depot also features a new emergency action centre that will oversee all bad weather repair works across the Borders.

Frank Mitchell, chief executive officer of SP Energy Networks attended the official opening.

He said: “This substantial investment to create a modern, state-of-the-art headquarters in the Borders is important to support ambitious investment plans for the area.

“It will also be the main office to oversee any emergency response activity, such as storm events during the winter, as we have seen in the last few years.”

Mr Mitchell added: “As well as our plans to invest millions of pounds in modernising the network in the Borders, we are looking at innovative projects to support community renewable energy schemes and making it easier to connect to the network.

“Over the next decade we will also be recruiting a new generation of engineers, many of whom will be apprentices and graduates.

“In the Borders area we anticipate supporting many new roles in the coming years, as well as creating hundreds of opportunities with contractors across the region.”

The major investment in the Galashiels depot is just one element of an extensive modernisation programme currently underway locally.

In recent years the company has modernised and upgraded the main grid substations on Netherdale Road in Galashiels and in Lauder, costing over £2m, and made significant upgrades to flood defence measures.

The company’s overhead line rebuild programme continues annually in the area, with £4.6m spent on rebuilding over 100km of lines.

A further £3.2m has been spent on refurbishing over 570km of overhead lines in region too.

Upcoming works include a £5.5m investment in the replacement of the transformers at the Galashiels grid substations, which is due to start next year.