Hereford Times: Western Power Distribution logo

Hereford Times: Western Power Distribution

Hereford Times: Western Power Distribution

Hereford Times: Western Power Distribution

Hereford Times: Three Counties Farmer Farming Awards 2020 logo

Western Power Distribution (WPD) is delighted to support the Three Counties Farming Awards by sponsoring the Young Farmer category.

WPD is the electricity distribution network operator for Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, as well as the rest of the Midlands, South West England and South Wales.

Its electricity network of 15,000 pylons, 132,000km of underground cable, 91,000km of overhead lines and 295,000 pieces of switchgear delivers a safe and reliable electricity supply to more than 7.9 million customers around the clock at an average cost of less than 30p per household per day.

WPD works closely with farmers and contractors across its distribution area to raise awareness of the hazards of working near the electricity network.
Most farming incidents involving electricity are linked to vehicles with elevating equipment, such as spray booms or combine harvesters, which make contact with overhead lines.
The latest national figures show that at least one agricultural accident involving overhead lines is reported every day – up by more than 100 a year, from 263 in 2013 to 378 in 2018.

Other accidents are caused by vehicles using GPS steering, which may not take into account obstacles such as electricity poles and staywires, resulting in potentially catastrophic collisions.
If you drive a tipping trailer, lorry-mounted crane, combine harvester or telehandler, it is important to follow this simple, life-saving advice:

1. Never raise elevating equipment, such as spray booms, combine harvesters and trailer bodies, under or close to overhead power lines;
2. Never store or move materials under, or close to, overhead power lines, as this reduces the safe clearance distance beneath the overhead lines;
3. Know the maximum reach and height of any vehicle you are operating;
4. Be vigilant when using GPS – accidents can still happen;
5. You cannot see electricity – the area around a fallen line, including the soil, equipment and other objects, could be live – so stay away.
6. If contact is made with a power line, farm workers are advised to stay in the cab and try to drive clear. If that is not possible, the driver should stay in the cab and call 105, only leaving the machine in an emergency. When leaving the vehicle, they should take care not to hold the machine and touch the ground at the same time; they should take leaping strides or ‘bunny hop’ away so that one foot is off the floor at all times.
More safety information can be found at

Neil James, WPD’s Gloucester Distribution Manager, said: “By supporting the Three Counties Farming Awards, we believe we can shine a light on these important safety issues and hopefully help to reduce the number of accidents involving harvesting machinery and GPS.”
Nigel Sweet, WPD’s Hereford and Ludlow Distribution Manager, added: “Sponsoring the Young Farmer category gives us a chance to celebrate the huge contribution young farmers make to the industry. I’d like to say good luck to everyone who has entered or been nominated.”

If you experience a power cut, you can call 105 for free and be put through to one of WPD’s contact centre teams. If you need extra support during a power cut, for instance because you rely on electricity for medical equipment, you can join WPD’s free, confidential Priority Service Register. WPD also regularly holds stakeholder consultations and customers who are interested in taking part can register by calling 0800 121 4909 or emailing