SOURCE: National Grid

National Grid

June 08, 2015 17:17 ET

National Grid Aerial Inspections Help Ensure Power System Reliability

Helicopter Inspections of Transmission Lines Underway This Week to Detect and Correct Potential Problems Before Outages Occur

WALTHAM, MA--(Marketwired - Jun 8, 2015) - National Grid (LSE: NG) (NYSE: NGG) will begin its semi-annual aerial inspections of more than 2,900 miles of high-voltage transmission lines in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont. Starting this week (June 8, 2015), the helicopter flyovers will identify and address potential problems in the transmission lines before they impact electric service for customers. These aerial inspections complement the regularly-conducted, ground-level inspections by quickly and efficiently covering National Grid's transmission system, even across rugged and isolated terrain.

Transmission lines are generally defined as high-voltage lines carrying electricity at or greater than 69,000 volts. They typically deliver power from generating plants to local electric companies who in turn serve their customers.

"At National Grid, we believe taking a proactive approach to reducing outages and accelerating outage restorations is in the best interest of our customers. Proper and regular inspections of our transmission system is a critical component in providing safe and reliable electric power to our more than 1.7 million electricity customers across New England," said David Way, vice president, Project Management and Complex Construction, National Grid. "Transmission lines can be damaged during the winter months by severe weather, making now an ideal time to have an up-close look and make sure customers have the reliable service they deserve and expect."

The helicopter inspections are conducted by experienced trained personnel using high-powered gyroscopic binoculars. They are particularly interested in signs of wear on power line conductors and lightning protection devices; damaged or leaning transmission structures; loose or broken guy wires; broken, chipped or cracked insulator equipment; and trees leaning toward the lines or into the transmission corridors.

In addition to damaged lines, towers or trees, the flights are conducted to identify signs of waste disposal or unauthorized construction on the rights of way. These could alter the amount of clearance between the ground and the power lines and might lead to human contact with the lines that could result in severe injuries or vegetation interference that could lead to power outages. Of additional concern are signs of erosion, which may cause the transmission structures to become unstable.

The inspections are expected to take approximately five weeks to complete, weather permitting. Flight schedules and routes may be changed on short notice due to regional weather conditions. Public safety officials in the communities over which the flights pass are notified of flight patterns. Flights will also be conducted during the summer months.

About National Grid

National Grid (LSE: NG) (NYSE: NGG) is an electricity and natural gas delivery company that connects nearly 7 million customers to vital energy sources through its networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.

Through its U.S. Connect21 strategy, National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Connect21 is vital to our communities' long-term economic and environmental health and aligns with regulatory initiatives in New York (REV: Reforming the Energy Vision) and Massachusetts (Grid Modernization).

For more information please visit our website: www.nationalgridus.com, or our Connecting website. You can also follow us on Twitter, watch us on YouTube, like us on Facebook and find our photos on Instagram.

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