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Helicopters to patrol electricity network in Canberra

Michael Weaver 3 February 2020 17
Helicopter patrols

Canberrans will see helicopters patrolling Canberra suburbs to assess how close vegetation is growing to powerlines. Photo: Supplied.

While Canberrans adjust to the regular patrols of helicopters and aircraft travelling to and from the fire ground of the Orroral Valley fire, there will be another helicopter patrolling Canberra suburbs to assess how close vegetation is growing to powerlines.

Energy supplier Evoenergy is patrolling ACT powerlines by air from today as part of its annual bushfire mitigation and safety maintenance program. 

Helicopter patrols are used by Evoenergy and many distribution companies around Australia to assess how close vegetation is growing to powerlines in order to keep obstructions away from overhead wires. 

The helicopter will fly for three weeks so long as weather and bushfire conditions permit.

Evoenergy Group Manager of Network Services Paul Wheatley said inspecting the overhead electricity network is part of its essential maintenance program.

The helicopter will patrol rural and urban areas within or adjacent to: Belconnen, Booth, Coree, Cotter River, Gungahlin, Hall, Hume, Jerrabomberra, Kowen, Majura, Mount Clear, Paddy’s River, Rendezvous Creek, Stromlo, Tennent, Tuggeranong, Tharwa, Weston Creek, Woden Valley and Molonglo Valley.

On Sunday, the helicopter patrolled part of the network damaged as a result of the Beard fire.

“These patrols ensure we continue to keep our network one of the most reliable in Australia and is a key part of our bushfire mitigation program,” Mr Wheatley said.

“We’re experiencing one of the hottest and driest summers on record, and when you add in windy conditions, trees and branches falling on powerlines is one of the biggest causes of blackouts in the ACT.

“The Canberra community will see a helicopter patrolling to survey our network. In suburban areas, the helicopter will fly 310 metres above the ground and in rural areas, the chopper flies between 110 and 150 metres.

“Where we find trees too close to powerlines, we will send out letters to Canberrans with a reminder to have their trees trimmed, including a list of Evoenergy-accredited tree surgeons they should use.”

Mr Wheatley said it is important to only use accredited tree surgeons, as they’re trained to work with trees close to live wires.

“If residents aren’t using an accredited tree surgeon, they open themselves up to serious fines if damage occurs,” he said.


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17 Responses to Helicopters to patrol electricity network in Canberra
Adrian Patton Adrian Patton 8:16 am 04 Feb 20

Belinda Ranse this morning

Jesse Mahoney Jesse Mahoney 10:34 pm 03 Feb 20

Why don't they use drones instead?

Dragan Gluhović Dragan Gluhović 10:10 pm 03 Feb 20

Please don't land on the grass, we don't want another Orroral

Graham Smith Graham Smith 9:50 pm 03 Feb 20

So it was the powerline it was checking. Not following us as we walked the dog.🙂

Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 9:49 pm 03 Feb 20

I hope they fly over our house. We have a huge gum in our yard that hangs over power lines that we’d like to trim. We’d prefer to habitat it because it’s dangerous. The ACT government will only allow us trim the dangerous limbs. Surely with all the fire activity and the fact the the limb could fall anytime due to the drought, we’d be able too. Time will tell!

    Robyn Holder Robyn Holder 11:15 pm 03 Feb 20

    Julie Maynard yeah, cut cown all the trees in Australia in case they burn! Brilliant idea! 🤦🤦🤦

    Zoë Clews Tibbitts Zoë Clews Tibbitts 6:09 am 04 Feb 20

    Robyn Holder did you even read what Julie said? 👎

    Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 11:13 am 11 Feb 20

    Robyn Holder that’s not what I said.

    Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 11:14 am 11 Feb 20

    Zoë Clews Tibbitts people read what they want to see!

Judith Scerri Judith Scerri 9:35 pm 03 Feb 20

Pyter Scerri this is going to be a longgg few weeks with Arthur

Sarelle Woodward Sarelle Woodward 9:31 pm 03 Feb 20

Just don’t let them land! 😉

Lisa Ries Lisa Ries 9:23 pm 03 Feb 20

Ever heard of underground powerlines?

    Alex Nicol Alex Nicol 9:44 pm 03 Feb 20

    Lisa Ries you'll be chipping in a few billion to help make this come true? Thanks!

    Lisa Ries Lisa Ries 9:46 pm 03 Feb 20

    Alex Nicol, works in some parts of NSW, forward planning starts now

    Kieran Angus Kieran Angus 9:52 pm 03 Feb 20

    Lisa Ries you'll notice that powerlines are buried in newer suburbs in the ACT too.

    Lisa Ries Lisa Ries 9:57 pm 03 Feb 20

    Kieran Angus great happy to hear makes it safer for everyone

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