Power to the Pococks

Unfortunately the whole video has now been removed from i-player, which is a bit surprising as it was listed until the 17th November. Que sera! There are several clips still available and the solar man works for me! However the problems on lack of connection to the grid as Beauly Denny blights their views remain an open sore. In Tom Johnstone’s original aim for the Highlands, Hydro was supposed to connect every house to the Grid at no cost, an aim somewhat diluted by the end of construction. Why these houses were not connected may have been a matter of personal choice or a wish of the landowner not to allow poles and lines over his land. It may have been the £200 cost(a king’s ransome in those days when estate workers earned £3 per week and crofters often less) that was  requested in the later days of hydro. Power to this area was somewhat later in the scale of things.  The reason is lost on the mists of time. SSE have made a statement which totally misses the point that Sasha makes. If SSE can impose the Beauly Denny line in the Pococks area, surely they could at least find a way to honour Tom Johnson and the Hydro’s original remit. Power to the Glens. From SSE’s response below it would seem that the bottom line is the only one they read. Anything is possible if you want to do it!

Power to the Pococks – SSE’s response

24 Oct 2013

Stuart Hogarth, Director of Distribution for SSEPD, blogs about the BBC2 Documentary which airs tonight at 9pm.

Tonight there is a BBC2 documentary featuring a family called Meet the Pococks who are living in Glen Affric in a remote part of the Highlands.  The trailer for the documentary follows members of this crofting family, their desire to be self sufficient, live a sustainable life and their recent efforts to introduce electricity to their home.

Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD), as the operator of the local electricity network, was asked in April to provide an estimate to connect the cottage for the first time.   While the family live near the replacement Beauly Denny transmission line, this carries extra high voltage electricity down the country and domestic properties cannot be connected directly to it – they must connect into the much lower voltage local electricity network.  The cottage is nearly 6km away from any local network, therefore a new network would need to be built to provide the connection and, therefore, the costs are high.

There are detailed rules for providing new connections set by Ofgem, the energy regulator.  Ofgem also scrutinises our costs. Our estimate to the Pococks included the laying of the electricity cable, erecting a pole mounted transfomer and providing a single phase supply.  Since these works are entirely for the sole use of this property, they are fully chargeable to the applicant. 

Due to this option not being viable, we discussed alternative options with the Pococks for generating electricity locally and are happy to advise further should the family wish to go ahead with one or a combination of alternative sources.  We have also investigated the options for assistance from the Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust.  This fund was set up to provide assistance for of up to 30% of the connection costs for deserving applications, we appreciate however this still leaves a large balance for the family to find and it shows the challenges of providing an electricity supply in the most remote areas in the UK. 

The SHEPD network covers 25% of the UK landmass with around 1% of the population, meaning that our lines have to stretch further just to reach one customer, the Pococks remind us of how some properties in remote areas are still living off grid today and the challenges we* face to get them connected.

*A hollow comment as SSE fail to provide an acceptable cost resolution.


About Dougal Quixote

Slightly mad. Always believes a cup is half full so continues to tilt at Wind Turbines and the politicians that seem to believe it is their god given right to ruin Scotland for a pot of fool's gold.
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One Response to Power to the Pococks

  1. douglas pocock says:

    i am appalled by your lack of care for this project. i mean 6 km its hardly a very long way for you people who are shipping thousands of volts of electricity 262 km down to Denny in Stirling shire especially when the electric is so close it is appalling.

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