FirstEnergy Corp. is using helicopters to inspect high-voltage transmission lines across its Toledo Edison service area in northwestern Ohio.
Residents may see a small helicopter flying at low altitude or hovering over high-voltage lines and transmission towers while airborne workers examine power line connections and other equipment. Local law enforcement agencies will be notified before inspections take place. Inspections should be completed by late March.
"Using helicopters to complete these inspections is a safe and cost-efficient way to help us keep our high-voltage system durable and reliable," said Rich Sweeney, regional president of Toledo Edison. "The helicopter provides workers with a clear view of overhead equipment far more quickly and easily than workers on the ground."
When a potential maintenance concern is identified, workers in the helicopter can use a company application to send a report and a photograph to the appropriate operations workers so that area can be inspected more closely and any necessary repairs can be made.
Flight schedules are subject to adjustment due to inclement weather and other conditions. To increase efficiencies, the helicopter will inspect the entire length of a circuit, which means inspections may, at times, extend into neighboring utility service areas.
Toledo Edison serves more than 300,000 customers in northwest Ohio.