Helicopter patrols inspect Canberra’s overhead powerlines

Helicopter patrols inspect Canberra’s overhead powerlines

ActewAGL carried out a series of helicopter patrols in December as part of its vegetation management and asset management programs.

The inspections covered all suburbs of Canberra, including Weston Creek and Belconnen, looking primarily for vegetation encroaching on power lines.

ActewAGL general manager network services Robert Atkin said the patrols were necessary to ensure the network didn’t contribute to catastrophic bushfire conditions in neighbouring states.

“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,” Mr Atkin said.

The helicopters flew at approximately 110-150m in rural areas and above 310m in urban areas, and used Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) remote sensing technology to determine the distance between powerlines and vegetation. Vegetation deemed too close to powerlines was prioritised for cutting by ActewAGL’s authorised service providers in rural areas, and notifications were sent to customers or the government depending on where trees were located in suburban areas.

The helicopters were also required to take high-resolution pole top images in high bushfire prone areas to assess the pole top condition and prioritise the company’s preventative maintenance regimes.

ActewAGL kept the community up-to-date with the helicopter schedules via Twitter.