HELICOPTER INSPECTIONS SUPPORT NORTHERN POWERGRID’S WINTER PREPAREDNESS
Northern Powergrid, the company that powers everyday life for 8 million people across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, took to the skies throughout the year to inspect its overhead power lines ready for winter.
The electricity distributor has used helicopters to fly some 14,500 kilometres during the year, to check its network and inspect more than 148,500 of its network assets.
Pete Wilstrop, Northern Powergrid’s Network Inspections Manager, said: "Our electricity network delivers power to 3.9 million homes and businesses across the region. These inspections are key to helping us manage our network and identify areas that need work before it disrupts customers’ supplies.
“Taking to the sky to patrol our power lines means that we can carry out inspections over large distances. Our helicopter inspections complement our foot patrols and the work we do using drones to check local sections of our electricity network.”
Pete added: "Our power lines are often located in isolated areas and are exposed to the elements. Using our helicopter to check them from the air is the quickest way get vital aerial intelligence that we need to manage, maintain and continually improve our network for our customers.”
Northern Powergrid’s helicopters fly at low levels at speeds of around 30 kilometres an hour. Whilst there is some engine noise, the crews work hard to keep it to a minimum and reduce any potential disruption to local communities while carrying out these essential checks throughout the spring, summer and early autumn months. Wherever possible, they try to avoid areas where sensitive livestock is grazing. Northern Powergrid also uses its social media channels (Facebook and Twitter @Northpowergrid and @powergridnews) to advise when and where the helicopters are flying.
The network operator also tracks the weather every day as part of its approach to maintaining and improving the resilience of its network and being prepared for the winter months. Find out more on its dedicated Weather Aware page.
Helping customers be prepared is also important and Northern Powergrid recently launched its winter campaign to help customers and encourage anyone who may be more vulnerable, due to their medical or personal circumstances, to join its free Priority Services Membership.
Northern Powergrid is encouraging people to be prepared so they know what to do if their power supply is ever affected, whether that’s because of a fault on the local electricity network or severe weather damaging electrical equipment.
It is recommending people bookmark its improved website and power cut map on their mobile and add 105 – the free national power cut number - to their contacts so they know where to get information. It is also directing customers to a range of improved online advice on how to be prepared so individuals, families and businesses know what to do and can take action to help reduce the impact. The new ‘be prepared’ page also provides links to information about:
- Northern Powergrid’s discretionary customer welfare support for people affected by a long duration power cut,
- how Northern Powergrid works with local partners to support customers and inform wider regional responses in communities in escalated events, and
- Northern Powergrid’s commitment to customer service and improving the services it offers now and in the future.