Choppers are taking to the skies in North Queensland as Powerlink prepares for the upcoming summer season by inspecting high voltage transmission lines and washing insulators.
The work, which is scheduled depending on the weather, involves 594 towers and will be undertaken in areas including Townsville, Ayr, Mareeba, Collinsville and Moranbah between October and December.
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the activities were an important part of ensuring the safety and reliability of the transmission system ahead of the storm and cyclone seasons.
"Powerlink has a responsibility to deliver safe and reliable supply of electricity to more than four million Queenslanders," Dr Lynham said.
"Washing is carried out on towers to remove any contaminants, including dust, which can build up on the insulators during the drier parts of the year.
"Highly-trained pilots fly the helicopters, which are fitted with a special attachment that sprays demineralised water at high pressure to clean the insulators.
"This helps ensure the transmission network is ready for the unpredictable weather over summer."
Powerlink Interim Chief Executive Kevin Kehl said the inspections and insulator washing would be done in a way to minimise any potential disturbance to local communities.
"Local residents may see the helicopter moving relatively quickly and at a low level along the transmission lines with a pause to wash the insulators," Mr Kehl said.
"The pilots will endeavour to maintain the maximum distance practically possible from houses, livestock and crops, and be as quick and non-disruptive as possible.
"We understand that low-flying helicopters have the potential to startle some livestock such as horses and cattle, and we encourage people with any questions to contact us for further information.
Powerlink’s pre-summer preparations include emergency exercises, reviews of contingency plans, vegetation management, and routine inspections and maintenance of transmission lines and substations across the state.
Further information about Powerlink’s summer readiness activities can be obtained by phoning FREECALL 1800 635 369 (during business hours).