National Grid will take to the skies in the coming days, weather permitting, to conduct annual patrols of some key overhead power lines in several Massachusetts communities, including Mansfield.
While Mansfield is one of many communities with its own electric department, it still buys power from all over and uses National Grid's lines to get that power in certain circumstances.
In addition to the annual flights, many of these lines were inspected in 2011 immediately following Tropical Storm Irene and the late October snowstorm.
Inspections will be conducted in the following communities on Friday May 18, 2012:
Attleboro North Attleboro
The helicopter patrols help the company spot potential problems with equipment structures or lines so that they can be addressed before service interruptions occur.
Many of the power lines, which are major supply circuits, traverse remote areas that are difficult to access with vehicles, or on foot. The aerial view gained from a flyover also enables crews to spot potential problems with trees or tree limbs that may be too close to lines. Damage caused by falling trees of limbs can be a major cause of power outages.
Additionally, inspectors conduct visual and infra-red inspections for general infrastructure wear and tear. The infra-red camera detects heat and is helpful in pinpointing areas where equipment wear or loose connections literally create visible “hot spots.” Once problem areas are identified, crews are dispatched to make any required repairs.
“These flights are part of our on-going, proactive approach to maintaining overall system reliability,” said Kathy A. Lyford, Vice President, Construction and Maintenance for National Grid in New England. “They are invaluable in helping us head off outages that could affect thousands of our customers.”
National Grid has notified police and fire departments as well as municipal officials in communities where the patrols will take place. Anyone with questions or concerns can contact National Grid’s toll-free customer service line at 1-800-322-3223.
National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. The company is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society - to create new, sustainable energy solutions for the future and developing an energy system that underpins economic prosperity in the 21st century. National Grid holds a vital position at the center of the energy system and it ‘joins everything up’.
In the northeast US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles. In Great Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.
National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island. It manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and owns over 4,000 megawatts of contracted electricity generation, providing power to over one million LIPA customers. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.