Network maintenance takes to the skies

Specialist Northern Ireland Electricity Networks (NIE Networks) engineers will be running helicopter patrols over the coming months
Specialist Northern Ireland Electricity Networks (NIE Networks) engineers will be running helicopter patrols over the coming months

Specialist Northern Ireland Electricity Networks (NIE Networks) engineers will be running helicopter patrols over the coming months to identify areas of the power network which need refurbishment.

These aerial patrols of over 2,500kms of the electricity network will allow trained observers to identify and record any signs of damage or wear and tear on the lines and equipment that carry electricity.

The power network in Northern Ireland has the highest ratio of rural overhead lines per customer in the UK, apart from the remote Scottish Highlands. We employ a helicopter as it is the quickest and most effective way of inspecting the lines and directing refurbishment crews to carry out further detailed checks and repairs.

Alex Houston, Lines and Cables Investment Engineer, NIE Networks

Alex Houston, Lines and Cables Investment Engineer at NIE Networks, said: “The power network in Northern Ireland has the highest ratio of rural overhead lines per customer in the UK, apart from the remote Scottish Highlands. We employ a helicopter as it is the quickest and most effective way of inspecting the lines and directing refurbishment crews to carry out further detailed checks and repairs.

“This work will help to improve the reliability and quality of service for our customers across Northern Ireland.”

The patrols will start at the end of November and continue until February 2017.

Any landowners with concerns about livestock or animals should contact NIE Networks’ Customer Helpline on 03457 643 643 for details of the inspection schedule, alternatively you can follow us on Twitter @NIElectricity where the daily locations of the helicopter will be posted.