AusNet Services has begun low-flying helicopter inspections across Gippsland, Victoria, as part of its intensive maintenance and bushfire mitigation work.

Over the next few weeks, a specialist inspection team will fly above high-voltage powerlines, taking aerial photos of poles.

The photos will then be analysed to determine if maintenance work is needed.

AusNet Services owns and operates more than 49,000km of powerlines and 380,000 power poles in Victoria’s east. As part of an intensive inspection program, these assets are regularly inspected by ground or air.

AusNet Services’ Customer and Community Manager, Gareth Downes, said the aerial surveillance program was integral to keeping the network safe and reducing the risk of powerline fires.

“Large parts of our network are located in steep or bushy areas and can be difficult to access and inspect by ground crews,” Mr Downes said.

“By using a helicopter, our team is able to fly quickly along large stretches of poles and wires that are in challenging and difficult terrain.

“Aerial inspections are faster and are an important part of preparing for the fire season ahead and keeping the community safe.”

AusNet Services operates the helicopter between 8am and 4pm, flying with custom blades that minimise noise. The helicopter flies at approximately 400 feet above ground level over electricity poles.

“We thank the community for their patience and understanding during this important work,” Mr Downes said.

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