This site deals with the electric and magnetic fields produced by the electricity system. But the operation of high voltage transmission equipment can generate audible noise. The nature and character of the noise will depend on the type of installation and how it is operated.
There are three basic sources of noise from substations, with different characteristics.
- Transformer noise is a practically constant low-frequency hum. Transformers generally run continuously except for maintenance.
- Switchgear noise is generated by the operation of circuit breakers and is “impulsive” in character - it is loud but of short duration.
- Substation auxiliary plant such as diesel generators and air compressors may also contribute to the noise.
High-voltage power lines can generate noise under certain conditions.
- Audible noise from overhead-line conductors and fittings is generally either a “crackle” or a “hum”. It occurs mainly in wet weather, particularly fog and rain.
- Noise may also arise as a result of the wind blowing past the line or pylons.
What to do about noise issues
If you have concerns about audible noise, contact the electricity company which owns the equipment - National Grid or the relevant Distribution Network Operator.
More information is available on the National Grid website.