Western Power To Improve Emergency Link

Western Power has been given permission to place three satellite dishes and some aerials on the TV mast at Halangy Down.

The work will speed up the restoration of power here if the mainland electricity cable fails.

If the link from Cornwall, which is routed from St Buryan, is snared by shipping or succumbs to corrosion, detectors sense the failure and send a message to the seven generators dotted around Scilly to start them up remotely.

The signal is currently sent through the phone network using modems and broadband but the islands’ network is slow and deemed to be unreliable – the internet connection is sent over to St Mary’s by microwave and can be affected by rain, fog and storm conditions.

Western Power feel that using aerials and dishes to send the monitoring signal from the mainland to the generating sites will be more resilient. It should help them meet the regulatory requirement that power should be restored to 60% of islanders within 60 minutes.

The planning consent for the dishes will need to be renewed in 5 years although Councillor John Goddard questioned the need to do this.

Chief Planning Officer Craig Dryden says that prevents clutter when companies leave up aerials they don’t need anymore.