Evoenergy will be patrolling ACT powerlines by air from 5 February, all part of the annual bushfire mitigation and safety maintenance program.
Helicopter patrols are used by Evoenergy – and all distribution companies around Australia – to assess how close vegetation is growing to powerlines in order to keep obstructions away from overhead wires.
The chopper will fly for four weeks, weather permitting, from Monday 5 February, inspecting Evoenergy’s overhead electricity network as part of its essential maintenance program.
Evoenergy Branch Manager Works Delivery Clinton McAlister said, “In suburban areas the helicopter will fly 310 metres above the ground in order to survey the network and use Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology to determine the distance between powerlines and trees. In rural areas the chopper flies between 110 and 150 metres.
“As trees and branches falling on powerlines is one of the biggest causes of blackouts in the ACT, these patrols let us know where to prioritise trimming of vegetation which will decrease the risk of bushfires and blackouts. Trees and vegetation can also restrict access, preventing essential maintenance from being carried out.
“These patrols ensure we continue to keep our network one of the most reliable in Australia. The patrols cover up to 2,400km of overhead powerlines, which saves our crews time and allows us to focus on maintaining the network.
“Where we find trees too close to powerlines, we will send out letters to Canberrans with a reminder to have their trees trimmed, including a list of Evoenergy-accredited tree surgeons they should use. If the trees are in public areas, we notify the ACT Government to organise trimming.
“It’s important to only use accredited tree surgeons for your safety, as they’re trained to work with trees close to live wires. If residents aren’t using an accredited tree surgeon, they open themselves up to serious fines if damage occurs. Follow @EvoenergyACT on Twitter for daily updates on where the helicopter is flying, and for more information visit Evoenergy’s website evoenergy.com.au/helicopterpatrols
Watch the following video to discover what LiDAR is and why is the Evoenergy helicopter using the technology to complete aerial patrols of the electricity network.