Power Line Surveys for

Scottish Power & MANWEB

The electricity that powers everything in your home is delivered through a massive network of underground cables and overhead power lines. The overhead lines we can see cover thousands of miles across the whole of the UK, and they are owned and operated by six companies.

One of those company’s is Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN). They own and maintain all the overhead lines in Central and Southern Scotland along with those in North Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Shropshire. These networks are referred to as SPEN and MANWEB respectively.

Our four-year contract with SPEN will have us surveying approximately 7,000 towers annually in Central and Southern Scotland and 3,000 towers for MANWEB. This means conducting statutory and thermal power line surveys across their entire network. To accomplish this, we will deploy our twin-engine AS355 that will be fitted with our gyro stabilised 4-in-1 sensor, the SWE-400 Quad. This state-of-the-art system allows us to record High Resolution Radiometric Infrared, Corona Detection, HD Video and Digital Still photography in a single flight. Inside the cabin, the operator has access to the OV171X-HDSDI quad monitor, allowing them to view all four sensors at the same time.

Storm Patrol

This contract also means we will be on standby to perform Storm Damage Patrols during the winter months. For this, we are available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week and can be airborne within an agreed launch window to investigate a reported fault. This readiness is vital to ensure the quick identification of a fault which in turn leads to them being repaired quickly.

As with all the flying we do, we take special consideration to the public as well as businesses when flying at low level. As the majority of overhead lines traverse farmland and fields, disturbing livestock such as cattle and horses can be costly to farmers. Our trained pilots and observers take extra care to minimise any disturbance caused by a low flying helicopter. This consideration also applies in rural aeras and where possible we liaise with landowners to conduct the surveys at agreed times. This helps reduce any unwanted noise from disturbing any special events that may be taking place. Any inspection that is unable to take place from the air is noted and a survey is conducted from the ground.

Alongside our Part SPO authorisations that allow us to conduct aerial utility work, we have our Air Operator Certificate (AOC). This grants us permission to provide our charter services and has already been utilised for SPEN CEOs to be given a tour of their network and to provide the BBC access to cover the work done by Scottish Power.