Counties Energy takes to the air
Local lines company Counties Energy will take to the air this summer to help keep the power flowing. An aerial survey by aeroplane of the region’s overhead electricity network will be conducted, taking imagery of around 2,500kms of power lines, around 26,000 poles and surrounding vegetation. A drone survey of around 8,000 poles and lines will also be completed.
From this imagery an accurate digital twin of the network will be created, which will highlight areas with clearance issues or trees encroaching on lines.
The surveys will aid the company, who supplies power to around 47,000 local homes, farms and businesses, to work smarter to direct maintenance activities to high priority areas and reduce risk.Counties Energy General Manager Network Paul Blue says the initiative will allow the company to view potential issues, such as low-lying lines, leaning poles or vegetation, and rectify them before they cause power outages or safety issues.
“This aerial survey is a very fast and efficient way to take a snapshot of our entire overhead electricity network. It takes a 3D image of the network and provides us with a digital twin to provide insights on vegetation, clearances and pole lean angle, and allows us to monitor how these change over time. We can then take this information to assess areas needing replacement or safety work and schedule this into our works programme based on priorities. Because the aeroplane is flying at height, there is no expected impact on customers or animals.”
“The drone survey is another essential tool for us to identify and remedy any issues to the equipment to help keep your power flowing. The drone and its operator will be operating mainly within the road reserve. Filming will only occur of the Counties Energy electricity equipment, not of people or private property, or of private service lines.”
The aeroplane survey work is expected to run mid-January – mid-February, with the drone survey from February – May. All work is dependent on weather conditions. Advertising in local papers will give approximate time frames by area. For further details, or any updates on the drone survey, please visit countiesenergy.co.nz.
All survey work will be conducted within Civil Aviation Authority guidelines and will be focussed on network assets. The aeroplane survey will be undertaken every three years to improve reliability to help keep the power flowing.