ActewAGL is currently undertaking helicopter inspections of overhead powerlines as part of their vegetation management and asset management program.
ActewAGL General Manager Network Services, Robert Atkin, said “The helicopter patrol is a significant part of our overall network maintenance program and bushfire mitigation strategy. 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.”
The patrol will inspect for vegetation encroaching on powerlines and will fly at approximately 110-150 metres in rural areas and above 300 metres in urban areas with minimal hovering. The helicopter will be branded with the ActewAGL logo and take-off and landing will be at Canberra Airport.
The helicopter uses Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) remote sensing technology to determine the distance between powerlines and vegetation. Vegetation deemed too close to powerlines are prioritised for cutting by ActewAGL’s authorised service providers in rural areas, or notifications are sent to customers or ACT Government depending on where trees are located in suburban areas.
The helicopter also takes high resolution pole top images in high bushfire prone (rural) areas to assess the pole top condition and prioritise their preventative maintenance regimes.