As part of our Bushfire Risk Management Strategy we are working with the NSW Rural Fire Service, local councils and community groups to inspect powerlines, poles and other equipment in bushfire-prone areas.
Ausgrid engages specialist contractors to conduct bushfire safety patrols utilising helicopters, planes, vehicles and drones (UAV) in parts of The Hunter, Newcastle, Central Coast and Sydney looking for hazards. The helicopter crews use radar imaging equipment and high resolution photography to identify potential bushfire hazards. The radar sends and records 300,000 pulses every second to create a three-dimensional representation of the network and is capable of identifying branch heights with an accuracy of within two centimetres.
Aerial patrols are flying between 1 February and 7 June
About the patrols
Crews will be in the air from about 8.30am to 4pm (weather permitting). The helicopters fly between 18 and 55km/h, 500-1000 feet from the ground. Whereas the plane will be flying 1400-1700ft above ground level and reaching speeds of 180-210km/h.
The helicopters & drones need to fly low at times, and this may startle livestock in rural areas, so property owners may want to consider securing livestock during the patrols.
Every endeavour will be made to stick to the flight schedule, however due to factors out of our control, such as adverse weather conditions, it may change slightly. Check back here for updates.
Use of drones
Drones (UAVs) allow us to get a clearer image of our poles. Drone cameras will be focused on the pole tops, so no pictures of the general public will be taken. The drones travel no higher than 35m from ground level and travel at speeds between 5-20km/h.