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Coromandel’s Power Lines Assessed From The Air

Thursday, March 17 2005

Coromandel’s Power Lines Assessed From The Air

Coromandel’s main power lines will be inspected this month using a special camera operated from a helicopter.

Electrical distribution company Powerco will survey the main lines between Coromandel, Whitianga, Tairua and Kopu using a corona camera.

Powerco network assets general manager Richard Krogh says many lines throughout the Coromandel are across extreme, rugged territory and can be difficult for linesmen to access.

“Not only does the helicopter allow us easy approach to the lines, the camera can pick up faults not visible from the ground,” Mr Krogh says.

The corona camera picks up electrical discharge across insulation points, meaning Powerco can identify faults before they become major problems.

Mr Krogh says during long hot dry periods, insulators can be coated with dust, sea spray and other contaminants.

“We rely on rain to clean the insulators, but if it has been dry for sometime, these contaminants can provide a path for electricity to track across the insulator.”

“In the worst case scenario the insulators could overheat and split apart, causing a fault. This can result in outages in nearby areas and again we face the access issue when fixing the line.”

Mr Krogh says Powerco intends to check Coromandel’s lines regularly using helicopter surveys.

The first survey was undertaken in January last year when some minor faults were detected.

“By being pro-active we can pick up minor faults which have the possibility of becoming major faults in the future. It is also easier to assess the condition of equipment from the air and determine what components need replacing due to normal wear and tear.”

Residents can expect to see the helicopter working in the area during the next two to three weeks.


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