Helicopter crews scan for hot spots ahead of bushfire season

A specialist helicopter crew will use thermal imaging equipment to survey Ausgrid’s major powerlines to locate hot spots on the network ahead of the bushfire season.

The crew’s infrared camera can identify potential bushfire risks on 132,000v powerlines which run through the Central Coast, stretching from Killingworth in the lower Hunter Valley to Berowra in Sydney’s north.

Ausgrid general manager network services David Pengilly said the thermal vision images were the most efficient way of locating hot spots on the network.

“We use this technology to identify potential faults on joints between lengths of powerlines,” Mr Pengilly said.

“These show up as hot spots in the images allowing our maintenance crews to head out and make repairs before problems occur.”

The high-voltage powerlines transport electricity across Ausgrid’s network.

“At 132,000v these transmission lines are the backbone of the region’s electricity supply,” Mr Pengilly said.

Using a helicopter is the safest and most efficient way for crews to closely inspect these transmission lines.

“We have a comprehensive strategy to reduce risks on the network to help keep people and properties safe, particularly ahead of bushfire season,” Mr Pengilly said.

“We’re also completing our annual ground patrols and carrying out regular tree trimming to guard against bushfire risk coming into the summer period.”

The helicopter will cover more than 100km of powerlines through rural areas including Berowra and Mount Kuringai, Somersby, Gosford, Ourimbah, Berkeley Vale, Tuggerah, Vales Point, Morriset, Eraring, Awaba, Rathmines and Killingworth.