"Using helicopters to inspect our transmission network is a key tool in our ongoing program to enhance service reliability for our Potomac Edison customers," said James A. Sears, Jr., president of FirstEnergy's Maryland Operations. "Helicopter inspections provide a safe and effective way to traverse rugged terrain, and are much less time-consuming than inspections conducted by crews on the ground."
The helicopter patrols are slated for completion by late February, depending on weather and other conditions. The flights will focus primarily on about 200 miles of the company's transmission lines in Frederick, Montgomery and Washington counties.
Local law enforcement and public officials will be notified before the helicopter inspections occur.
Residents may notice a small black helicopter flying slowly or hovering at low altitude above transmission lines. The aircraft also will circle and hover near steel transmission towers and wooden pole structures for a close-up look at the equipment. When an issue is identified, a notification, along with a photograph, is forwarded to the appropriate operations area so the repair can be scheduled.
Potomac Edison serves about 250,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and 132,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.