High-tech patrols improve network knowledge

Aerial inspections of the power network will soon commence in Tottenham and surrounding areas.
Aerial inspections of the power network will soon commence in Tottenham and surrounding areas.

Essential Energy is using high-tech aircraft-mounted technology to capture and survey its electricity network to improve power safety and reliability and prioritise maintenance projects.

Manager community relations Northern, David Crough, said Essential Energy has used Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology since 2014 and would soon commence patrols across NSW.

“Commencing late September, a fixed-wing plane will be used to identify damaged or deteriorating network assets and potential vegetation encroachments in Tottenham and surrounding areas,” David said.

“We conduct standard aerial patrols as part of our asset inspections program, however, these patrols give us a more detailed, three-dimensional view of Essential Energy’s electricity network.”

“The improvement in our data collection has been immense since using LiDAR technology. It is crucial to our asset management, mitigation of bushfire risk and fault rectification processes.”

LiDAR uses aircraft-mounted laser imaging, in conjunction with high-definition photography, to record the distance between powerlines and vegetation, the ground and structures. It captures images of Essential Energy’s assets and shows minute details with precision accuracy.

“The patrols have a greater scope to traverse a range of terrain where ground-based patrols may face challenges. They also ensure Essential Energy has a quality photograph of each pole top in the region,” David said.

“We may need to re-schedule LiDAR patrols from time to time due to weather conditions such as fog, rain and wind. Up to date schedules can be found online at www.essentialenergy.com.au/aerial,” David added.

Property owners with sensitive animals are encouraged to contact Essential Energy on 13 23 91 if they are concerned about the impact of these patrols.

Essential Energy’s 2017 LiDAR program delivery schedule is available online at: www.essentialenergy.com.au.