Ausgrid annual bushfire safety program will commence on January 31 to assess power poles and powerlines across Sydney, the Hunter and Central Coast for issues or faults which could pose a bushfire risk in the warmer months.
Residents may notice drones, low flying helicopters or specialised vehicles between now and July as specialist crews inspect pole tops and vegetation within the Ausgrid network.
On the ground, crews are also contacting property owners who have private power poles on their land and completing inspections to ensure they address maintenance issues.
Ausgrid General Manager Field Operations Sam Sofi said the bushfire safety program is a vital part of Ausgrid’s summer readiness plan.
“Bushfires are a very real threat to our network and no one will ever forget the devastating fires of 2019 which caused so much loss of life and property destruction,” Mr Sofi said.
“Ausgrid has a comprehensive annual safety program in place to help protect the community and reduce the risks of bushfires.”
“We will be using helicopters and drones as well as specialised vehicles to inspect the network by July, well before the start of the next bushfire season in September.
“The helicopter crews will be using radar imaging equipment and high-resolution photographs to identify any hazards on our poles and wires and trees growing too close to powerlines with an accuracy of within two centimetres.”
Crews will be in the air no earlier than one hour after sunrise and no later than one hour before sunset (weather permitting).
Property owners may want to secure livestock during the patrols, because the helicopters and drones need to fly low at times and may startle animals, especially in rural areas.
The helicopters fly between 55 and 92 kilometres per hour and between 150 to 310 metres from the ground.
Drones will travel no higher than 35 metres from the ground at speeds of between five to 20 kilometres an hour and their cameras will be focused on pole tops only.
Ausgrid’s network covers an area of more than 22,000 square kilometres across Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter, from Waterfall in the South, west to Auburn and just north of Scone.