6 February 2013
Energex will be carrying out urgent helicopter patrols of its overhead electricity network across South East Queensland this week following the devastation caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald over the Australia Day long weekend.
Energex’s Mike Swanston said the company’s electricity network had taken a battering from winds gusting to around 125kmh as ex-TC Oswald swept across the region, and urgent aerial patrols would assist with identifying any potential risks to the power supply.
The aerial patrols will focus on the hinterland and semi-rural areas across the region where many thousands of trees have been damaged or blown over.
Home owners are also being urged to contact Energex if they see any branches broken or trees ready to fall, which may drop into local powerlines. They are encouraged to contact Energex’s general enquiries line on 13 12 53.
“These aerial surveys aim to reduce the risk of further interruptions to power, particularly during any future storms or strong wind events during the remainder of summer,” Mr Swanston said.
“A birds-eye view allows us to detect deterioration and damage to the topside of poles and crossarms not visible from the ground as well as any vegetation impacting on powerlines.
“Once identified, pre-emptive repairs by ground crews will be carried out as quickly as possible which hopefully will avoid power interruptions.
“Helicopter patrols are twice as fast as vehicle patrols on overhead powerlines in urban areas and 20 times quicker on powerlines in mountainous terrain or on private property.”
Mr Swanston said specialised helicopter pilots trained in surveying electricity networks would conduct the inspections.
“The pilots remain alert for livestock and, where possible, change course to avoid unsettling animals,” he said. “The nature of these patrols means the helicopters will need to fly at relatively low altitudes and may also need to turn widely or cross properties to follow the powerlines.
“Helicopter noise may affect some people and animals, and while every attempt will be made to minimise inconvenience, timid animals should be secured or moved away from any powerline towers or poles where possible.”
Energex will endeavour to contact property owners listed on the company’s “no-fly register” for its annual pre-storm season patrols, however given the urgency of these inspections the company apologises for any inconvenience caused.
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