THOUSANDS of miles of overhead electricity cables are being scrutinised as ScottishPower tries to keep the lights switched on in Glasgow and surrounding area during the winter.

The power firm has ordered a major maintenance programme in an attempt to safeguard around two million homes and businesses across central and southern Scotland but today issued tips on how to cope in a black out.

Hundreds of engineers are carrying out detailed inspections of the electricity network.

Most are doing checks on foot while others are in a helicopter armed with thermal imaging cameras to detect any potential problems.

Tens of millions of pounds are being spent on maintaining the electricity network.

The maintenance programme also includes cutting back trees which are close to power lines.

A spokesman said: "We operate a statutory safety clearance of three metres plus three years growth to minimise the risk of wind-blown trees cutting off power lines to our customers during storms."