Helicopters are flying low over powerlines across a large area of regional Queensland, as Ergon Energy undertakes aerial inspections of the network ahead of storm season.
Patrols have been underway around Stanthorpe, Chinchilla, Hervey Bay, Maryborough, Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Childers, and will soon extend to Sarina, Mackay, Home Hill, Townsville, Ingham, Ravenshoe, Mareeba, Georgetown, Charters Towers and Mount Isa.
General Manager Field Delivery Max Hogan said the flights were part of Ergon’s robust routine inspection process to ensure the network is ready for the arrival of summer’s storms and bushfire season.
“We’re looking for potential issues such as damage to poles, crossarms, wires and insulators that might need attention, as well as vegetation that might need to be addressed.
“The sooner we can pinpoint any issue or defects, the faster we can fix them, and some things are much easier to access and spot from the air,” Mr Hogan said.
The chopper inspections can achieve in a few hours what ground and foot patrols would take weeks to get through, offering a high-resolution birds-eye view.
“The helicopters need to fly quite low over lines, and sometimes need to hover in an area so we can get a good look at any areas of concern,” Mr Hogan said.
“We’re also very conscious of minimising disturbances to livestock, so our pilots take care to avoid them wherever possible.”
This round of scheduled inspections will be completed by early November.