Powerlink washes insulators in preparation for summer

Helicopters spraying demineralised water, washing insulators
Helicopters are fitted with a special attachment that sprays demineralised water at high pressure to clean the insulators

Powerlink is busy preparing for the upcoming summer season with helicopters washing insulators across North Queensland, a job critical to the continued safe and reliable supply of power to five million Queenslanders and 238,000 businesses.

This work involves washing insulators on more than 500 transmission towers ahead of summer and inspecting transmission lines in the State’s north as part of important pre-summer maintenance activities.

Powerlink executive general manager operations and service delivery Gary Edwards said these activities were also an important part of preparing the transmission system ahead of the busy storm and cyclone seasons.

“Powerlink has an important responsibility to deliver a safe and reliable supply of electricity to five million Queenslanders and this activity helps ensure our transmission network is ready for Queensland’s unpredictable weather over summer,” Mr Edwards said.

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“Washing is carried out on towers to remove any contaminants, including dust, which can build up on the insulators during the drier parts of the year. Highly-trained pilots fly the helicopters, which are fitted with a special attachment that sprays demineralised water at high pressure to clean the insulators.

“Local residents may see the helicopter moving relatively quickly and at a low level along the transmission lines with a pause to wash the insulators. The pilots will endeavour to maintain the maximum distance practically possible from houses, livestock and crops, and be as quick and non-disruptive as possible to minimise any potential disturbance to our communities.

“Powerlink appreciates the cooperation and patience of the local community while this essential work is carried out.”

Insulator washing will be undertaken in areas including Alice River, Arriga, Black River, Clare, Greenvale, Hervey Range (Charters Towers), Innot Hot Springs, Kelso, Koah, Mareeba, Millaroo, Pinnacles, Toomulla, Trebonne, Walkamin and Woodstock (weather permitting).

The complete washing program for pre-summer is currently being finalised, with more washing activity to come.