Low flying helicopters to inspect power poles

A low-flying helicopter was used for Powerco’s pole top photography survey in Taranaki in 2020. Supplied photo.

Powerco is using low-flying helicopters to inspect parts of its rural network in the Bay of Plenty in January.

The work in the Bay of Plenty is planned for January 15-20, however, this timeframe may be extended in the event of bad weather.

The work is part of a pole top photography survey, which Powerco has conducted each summer for the last three years.

Since November 2021 and running until March 2022, Powerco is using low-flying helicopters to take high-resolution photographs of up to 50,000 power poles, lines and associated hardware on the electricity network across Taranaki, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Manawatū and Wairarapa.

“It’s an efficient and effective way to carry out network inspections to help deliver a safe and reliable power supply to customers”, says Powerco customer experience manager Haydn Davies.

“Getting clear, aerial visibility of our network allows us to assess the condition of our assets, check for any potential issues such as vegetation growing into lines, and resolve them before they cause harm or outages.”

The helicopters will only be flying in open air space, above 1,000 feet in urban areas, and above 500 feet in rural areas.

“We work hard to minimise the potential disruption to customers,” says Haydn.

He says all Civil Aviation Authority regulations are followed and customers have been notified about the flight paths in advance.

“We know that low-flying helicopters may disturb some animals or affect people’s plans or events and we encourage any concerned customers to please contact us, so we can alter the flight plan timings if necessary,” says Haydn.

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