Media Release: Helicopter inspections of powerlines underway

4 March, 2018

Low-flying helicopter inspections are underway across the network as part of Powercor’s bushfire safety program.

The inspections will continue until April with thousands of powerlines inspected across the region with flights taking place between day light hours.

Two Bell 206 helicopters fly about 250-500 metres above powerlines and, using state-of-the-art helicopter survey equipment, capture images of the assets.

Vegetation Manager Wayne Evans said the Light Detection and Ranging Measurement (LiDAR) survey involved using a laser measuring unit mounted on a helicopter to measure the distances between power lines and surrounding vegetation.

“The images will then be sent back to specialist teams that will analyse them and determine what vegetation will need to be removed this year to ensure our network remains safe and is compliant with regulations,” Mr Evans said.

“This is part of our vegetation inspection program and is about identifying any vegetation clearance work that may need to occur in high bushfire-risk areas.

“This is work to get us ready for next fire season, however the images will also allow us to detect if there is any urgent work that needs to occur immediately.”

Vegetation Manager Wayne Evans said the work was aimed at improving the safety and reliability of the network for the community.

“As the owner and operator of the electricity poles and wires across some of Victoria’s most bushfire-prone areas, we work throughout the year to prepare for summer,” Mr Evans said.

“As part of this wide-ranging work, we conduct extensive checks to ensure vegetation is clear of powerlines in high bushfire-risk areas.

During the next few months, these helicopters will move across other areas of the network to conduct checks.

During 2017, Powercor inspected more than 185,000 power poles across the network as well as over 320,000 of line spans to ensure vegetation was outside of the required clearance space.

If residents have any questions or concerns, they can contact Powercor on 13 22 06