Wooler has been selected as a pilot area for the introduction of smart grid technology on its electricity network as part of a major UK project.
Over a three-year period, Northern Powergrid, which is responsible for the network in the North East, and its partners will be trialling smart grid solutions as part of a £54million project taking in 14,000 homes and businesses as part of the ‘customer-led network revolution’.
And at Monday’s meeting of Wooler Parish Council, members heard that Wooler had been selected to have its substations upgraded.
Chairman Coun Alfreda Hindmarsh said that the new technology, to be installed at the substations in Broomley Road, behind The Peth and in Riverside Park, will allow Northern Powergrid to contact the substations remotely by phone in the case of power outages.
In a meeting with councillors, Northern Powergrid’s customer liaison manager Steve Keeney also said that it would be useful if a list of vulnerable people was drawn up, such as those with electric chair lifts or dialysis machines, so that batteries can be taken out as a matter of urgency in the case of power cuts.
But while this upgrade may improve the lives of residents in Wooler, members also heard about the efforts being made to improve housing in the Glendale area, particularly for elderly people, in the aftermath of the closure of Horsdonside sheltered housing complex.
Coun Rosanna Reed told the meeting about the various ongoing projects discussed at the meeting of C4A (Coordinating for Age) in Glendale.
The Glendale Gateway Trust will have a better idea of the housing need in the area following the publication of the county council’s housing needs assessment in November.
There has also been an expression of interest from Abbeyfield about getting involved in the Glendale area.
The other project is that a directory of all the services available for elderly people in the area is being produced, which councillors felt may well be a useful tool.
Coun Anthony Murray also said that Bell View, the Belford-based charity, has offered the use of its community bus for one day a week.
“They could bring it to Wooler to get the people who have been dispersed from Horsdonside and others and bring them back into town to do banking and shopping,” he said.