Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has launched an app, which allows customers to report power cuts and network damage at the touch of a button.

The power track app allows customers to alert the electricity district network operator (DNO) to a power cut by using their mobile phone or tablet instead of calling the customer services team.

SSEN said it will be able to respond quicker to power cuts as the report will go directly to its teams who will deploy engineers to investigate and reconnect power supplies as quickly as possible.

The company is thought to be the first DNO to develop an app that allows the public to take photos of any damage they see to the network and report it directly.

Lisa Doogan, director of customer relationship management at SSEN, said: “While customers should never approach a damaged power line or piece of our equipment, if they are able to send us a picture from a safe distance we’ll have a better idea of what is required to fix the job as quickly as possible.

“For example, if a tree has blown onto a power line and we can see it before sending out our engineers, they’ll know exactly where it is and the equipment they’ll need to make the repair.”

The images, combined with GPS signals will alert SSEN’s engineers to the exact location and potential cause of any problems. This allows them to minimise time locating faults and promptly repair any damage to the network.

SSEN has also formed a partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, part of the Williams Group, to trial the use of robots for high-voltage power line inspections.

The autonomous robot will navigate its own route, moving from overhead lines while it captures “critical asset data” to inform reinforcement and maintenance requirements.

Funded by Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance, the line inspection by semi-autonomous systems project will be the first time a “highly autonomous robot” will be used to inspect electricity networks in the UK.

Once developed, the specification will be released through a market tender to design and build the first autonomous robot to be used on this scale in the industry.

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