AusNet helicopters take to the sky

AusNet Services (AusNet) has this week begun low-flying helicopter inspections of its 66KV electricity transmission lines in high-risk bushfire areas as part of its annual bushfire safety program.

Between late October and November, a specialist team will thoroughly inspect overhead powerlines and poles across AusNet’s electricity network in eastern Victoria to ensure the electricity supply remains safe and reliable.

Helicopters will fly about 30 metres above powerlines to get a clear view of how the landscape is looking and identify any potential problems to determine what maintenance work is needed. Field teams will then be scheduled to undertake any required works.

AusNet Executive General Manager, Network Operations and Safety, Prue Crawford-Flett, said the inspections were an important part of AusNet’s extensive bushfire mitigation program to prepare for summer.

“AusNet is constantly working to keep the network safe and reduce the risk of powerline failures. These annual inspections are a key part of our comprehensive maintenance program to ensure the electricity network is safe for the community,” Ms Crawford-Flett said.

“Much of our electricity network covers steep and bushy terrain so using helicopters allows us to inspect poles and wires over large distances efficiently, and they significantly reduce the time taken to inspect an area. In areas where helicopters have restricted or no air access, the inspections will be carried out by drone, camera on a stick or by Hi-Mast vehicles.

“We would like to thank the community for their patience and understanding as we carry out these important inspections to keep the network and community safe ahead of summer.”

The aerial team also provides rapid response to assess damage and resolve any faults/outages that occur on the network after a severe weather event, such as storms, floods, or bushfires.

AusNet will notify customers by SMS in and around the scheduled flight area. Customers should update their contact details with their electricity retailer to ensure they receive these notifications. Landowners and customers can also check the inspection schedule and online maps by visiting Customers can also keep an eye on our Facebook page to learn when the inspections will take place in their area.

Helicopter flying past a power pole