ACT News

Low-flying helicopters to inspect Canberra's powerlines

Aerial inspections of Canberra's overheard powerlines are to prevent blackouts and bushfires, ActewAGL says.

Helicopters will be used to inspect Canberra's overhead powerlines this month.
Helicopters will be used to inspect Canberra's overhead powerlines this month.  Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

Helicopters will fly as low as 110 metres in some areas across the Canberra region as the electricity company's  annual inspection program rolls out on Thursday.

Starting in rural areas south of Tuggeranong around the Brindabellas, helicopters will inspect the distance between vegetation and powerlines using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) remote sensing technology.

The aircraft will fly at around 110-150 metres in rural areas and around 310 metres in urban areas with minimal hovering, ActewAGL manager works delivery Clinton McAlister said.

 "The helicopter patrol is a significant part of our overall network maintenance program and bushfire mitigation strategy," he said.

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"Trees and vegetation growing too close to powerlines can cause blackouts and create safety hazards such as grass fires and bushfires. Trees and vegetation can also restrict access, preventing essential maintenance from being carried out."

The helicopter will also take high resolution pole top images in rural areas with a high bushfire risk to determine where the priorities for preventative maintenance lies. 

Residents or the ACT Government will receive a notification if their vegetation is deemed to be too close to powerlines in suburban areas.

Patrols will conclude on February 25.