Unison Networks will commence its annual aerial survey of power lines in Hawke’s Bay on Wednesday next week.
The survey, which is conducted by helicopter, will cover over 170 kilometres of power lines in Hawke’s Bay, focused around Waimarama and Whakapirau feeders, and provides Unison with crucial information to improve network reliability.
“Falling trees and vegetation debris are the greatest risk to electricity supply and cause nearly a quarter of our unplanned outages,” said Unison’s General Manager of Networks and Operations, Jaun Park.
“Our annual aerial survey helps us to identify vegetation issues and make more informed decisions to minimise tree-related electrical faults.
“Importantly, the surveys are also an efficient means of inspecting the condition of our overhead lines and assets so we can identify potential equipment faults sooner,” said Mr Park.
Mr Park said that while the aerial surveys were part of Unison’s proactive programme to identify potential vegetation issues, the Company also needed tree owners to do their bit to ensure a reliable supply.
“There have been a few incidents lately where trees have damaged the network, causing power outages and posing safety risks.
“We need property owners to contact us if they notice any tress that are growing within four metres of power lines.”
Last year, Unison’s vegetation team removed or trimmed over 18,000 trees that were endangering electricity supply and spent around $1.2 million of its maintenance budget on its vegetation programme.
Mr Park said that during the aerial survey Unison would take all practical measures available to ensure stock and domestic animals were undisturbed.
"The enhanced zoom capability of the camera system means we can conduct aerial inspection activity from a long distance, avoiding the need to encroach upon areas where we believe animals could be present. There are certain areas in which there a high numbers of animals, making it difficult to aerially inspect our assets. We inspect these areas from the ground to ensure these animals are not disturbed."
Taupo and Rotorua, also serviced by Unison, will see surveying of their assets commence in April with completion expected by the end of May.
Customers who wish to report a tree that is growing too close to power lines or have questions about the serial survey should call 0800 2 UNISON.