Helicopter Buzzing Power Lines

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Liberty Utilities / Empire District performing their annual aerial transmission line inspection

(JOPLIN REGION) — If you are a Liberty / Empire District Electric customer don’t be surprised if you see a helicopter buzzing around your neighborhood in the coming days.

“Hellooo down there! [The] annual aerial inspection of our transmission and distribution system [has begun]. During this inspection, we’ll be in a low-flying helicopter, using infrared technology to check our lines and identify any potential issues that may lead to outages. This inspection will last until Friday, August 30.”

Liberty Utilities – Central FB post

To see further than the naked eye there is a camera with heat seeking abilities to see “hot spots” that might cause future problems in electric lines.

Since the helicopter will be flying so low it has a tail number, you can check to see it’s N306PH. They’ll be covering nearlly 1,300 miles of lines across the region, so be prepared.

They are inspecting transmission structures (sub-stations) as well as hardware, conductors and vegetation.

One FB follower asks the question, “So if a section of line or equipment appears hotter, on the IR cam, than what’s considered normal I imagine a separate crew takes a closer look?

Liberty Utilities Central replies, “Yes, a higher than normal temperature reading indicates the equipment is not operating effectively. It helps us pin-point issues so we can have crews address them before they lead to outages.”

Extended periods of rain and now outages from storms have caused a delay of inspections so the flights could extend later than the end of the month.

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