Helicopter powerline inspections will be used to inspect the Western Power network in Metro and South West areas of WA during the 2018 summer bushfire season.

Specially trained fault crews will fly across thousands of kilometres of network powerlines, criss-crossing bush and agricultural land, looking for potential causes of power outages and directing ground crews to exact locations.

Western Power’s Head of Regional South Operations, Jeffery Spinner, said during the summer months when bushfire is a significant risk in Western Australia, the inspections dramatically improved how quickly power can be restored.

“The network has nearly 100,000km of powerlines running through it and in some areas the network is prone to some really nasty weather during summer. Last year we flew over 170 hours checking for damage following outages, so we could restore power as safely and quickly as possible,” Mr Spinner said.

“Bushfire is a significant risk in Western Australia and when the experts and data tell us that the weather conditions present a very high to catastrophic risk of bushfire, we need to adopt different practices than we would in winter.”

When high fire danger ratings are declared by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Western Power are restricted in how it re-energises.

“During fire restriction conditions we boost our resources. Helicopter line inspections are invaluable to inspect terrain that would have had to have been inspected by foot during vehicle movement bans. This helps us to ensure the network is safe, so we can get the power back on quicker,” Mr Spinner said.

Utility Journalist

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