Counties Energy to survey local power lines by drone
Local lines company Counties Energy will commence a region-wide aerial survey of their network next month. This will involve a drone scanning the top of power poles on the overhead electricity network, with new technology allowing for much improved visual identification and a more reliable power supply.
The information gathered will highlight areas needing maintenance or replacement, including any potential safety issues, damaged or aging equipment or trees encroaching on lines. The aim is to rectify any issues before they cause problems including power outages.
Counties Energy General Manager Network Paul Blue says the drone survey is essential to running a safe and reliable electricity network for the community.
“The drone survey is a key element in our early detection programme to ensure we pick up any potential issues as early as possible. The high-resolution imagery taken of the equipment is assessed by highly trained professionals to ensure we identify and remedy any issues to the power supply to help keep your power flowing. If potential faults are detected now and resolved, there is less chance for an unplanned power outage in future.”
A contractor to Counties Energy will be conducting the survey which will commence in September and continue until around Christmas, weather dependent.
Counties Energy-owned power lines and equipment along with those on private property will be surveyed, however footage will only be taken of the equipment – not of private property, people or animals. If the drone will access private property Counties Energy will be in contact with the landowner in writing a minimum of two weeks before access.
All drone work is conducted by certified operators and within Civil Aviation Authority authorisation. Privately owned service lines are not being surveyed.
Residents are encouraged to secure their dogs, should the drone upset them and are encouraged to move horses or livestock away for power lines and equipment if they are likely to be spooked by a drone.
The schedule, which is subject to change at short notice due to weather is;
Pukeoware and Opaheke September – October
Pukekohe Hill Glenbrook, Patumahoe, Mauku, Waiuku, Hingaia November – December
Pukekohe East, Te Hihi – December
For more information on when the survey will be in your area including specific roads, go to countiesenergy.co.nz/dronesurvey or call 0800 100 202. The website schedule will be updated with any changes as these are advised.