ActewAGL takes to the sky to inspect overhead cables

Canberra is in the midst of a hot summer and the threat of bushfires is ever present, making ActewAGL’s maintenance program a crucial part of ensuring the community’s safety.

ActewAGL manager works delivery Clinton McAlister said keeping vegetation clear of powerlines is paramount to preventing fires.

“As well as inspecting powerlines from the ground throughout Canberra, we use helicopter patrols that fly approximately 250m above ground to carry out inspections,” he said.

“This year the patrols will run from late January through February (weather permitting), and are an essential part of our vegetation management program. The helicopter patrol is a significant part of our overall network maintenance program and bushfire mitigation strategy. Trees and vegetation growing too close to powerlines can cause blackouts and create safety hazards such as grass fires and bushfires. Trees and vegetation can also restrict access, preventing essential maintenance from being carried out.”

The helicopter uses Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) remote sensing technology to determine the distance between powerlines and vegetation. Vegetation deemed too close to powerlines are prioritised for cutting by ActewAGL’s authorised service providers in rural areas, or notifications are sent to customers or ACT Government depending on where trees are located in suburban areas.