Projects fast-tracked for connection to gas by Cadent in lockdown included a care home being turned into a Covid-19 treatment facility and an industrial supplier of hygiene equipment to the NHS.
Every year, Cadent’s arranges more than 35,000 new connections to our network. This might be anything from one domestic property to a big power station using gas to generate electricity.
To help stop the spread of coronavirus, and in line with government guidelines, some of these activities have had to be put on hold. But we have acted when called upon to support customers in vulnerable situations, or to connect sites classed as critical to the UK Government emergency response plan.
In total, we’ve handled 36 requests deemed critical connections during lockdown and, in many cases, we’ve moved from request to commencing work on site within two days.
Six of these were specific to the UK Government emergency response plan. This included work in Cheshire, West Midlands, Essex and Suffolk, and ranged from connecting a care home being turned into a facility to treat coronavirus patients to a site that supplies hygiene equipment to the NHS.
Smaller yet equally significant connections included two people (one in Southport and one in Great Yarmouth) for whom connection to gas was necessary before they could be discharged from hospital.
And for ‘larger load’ sites - those which depend on gas to enable multi-million-pound infrastructure projects, often with tight timescales – we've adapted and assisted to keep them on track.
One such project is a new gas-powered electricity generation plant at Red Scar Industrial Estate, Preston. When operational, this will be capable of supplying more than 100,000 homes.
Operated by Conrad Energy, with connection work being delivered by Green Frog Utilities, this site will be making a ‘high pressure’ connection to our network. We need to analyse, inspect and approve all stages of the process, to ensure the stringent safety standards we require are met.
Tina Hawke, Connections Manager, Cadent, said: “That power station is working to a timetable which envisages construction starting within the next few weeks. My team has worked hard, in lockdown, to continue dialogue virtually, as well as make some necessary on-site visits to keep things moving.
“This has been a challenging time for everyone, juggling a range of competing personal and business priorities, yet we’ve managed to enable or keep on track many essential connections.”