Case Study: Scottish and Southern Energy

Richard Walton, Scottish and Southern Energy's Lead Pressure Parts and Materials Engineer, talked to us about the importance of British Standards.

SSE has a heritage of energy production and played an important role in Scotland’s hydroelectric revolution. Based in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, with offices in Glasgow and Perth in Scotland, we provide engineering support to SSE’s power generation fleet across the UK.

SSE was formed in 1998 following the merger of Scottish Hydro Electric and Southern Electric. SSE produce, distribute and supply electricity and gas to residential and commercial customers across the UK, as well as providing other energy-related services.

What are the main British standards with which you comply currently and why did you choose them? 

We regularly refer to a lot of materials standards (such as EN 10216 and EN 10222), as well as welding, NDT (non-destructive testing), assessment and design standards.

We also refer a lot to the old British Standard documents (such as BS 1113 and BS 5500). A lot of the boilers in our power stations were built to old specifications and it’s important to have access to the standards they were designed to.

They are also a very useful introduction for new staff, helping them build up their knowledge. For example an older version of BS 1113 is now covered by a 14 section EN standard that runs to over 450 pages, so it’s easier to start understanding the equipment by referring to older standards.

What other benefits do standards bring to your business?

Standards are essential for us to be able to utilize the full life of our boilers with confidence. This helps us make lump sum savings of between £1.5 to 2.5 million over the life of each boiler.

The standards provide additional financial benefits as they impact the number of pipework inspections required and improve the effectiveness of each plant item - all of which leads to an efficient plant and less costly downtime.

We have also been able to construct a number of internal operating models using readily available standards. This has helped us operate more efficiently and cost effectively by displacing the need for some expensive third parties.

To your business, what is the one most important benefit of using standards?

Operating as efficiently as possible is a driving factor in our industry. The standards we have from BSI give us a guiding principle from which to ensure that we are operating both efficiently and, most importantly, safely.

How do you effectively manage your standards?

The BSI website gives us everything we need and we can login and access it anywhere. We get access to the latest standards, as well as previous versions and old standards (unlike other organizations), meaning we can cross-reference between codes and see what has been superseded or replaced.