CLEVELAND — If you’ve noticed low-flying helicopters in the Greater Cleveland area over the last few months and wondered what that’s all about—FirstEnergy said there’s nothing nefarious happening and it’s all very routine.
The electric company said that it’s been conducting proactive inspections and tree-trimming work across the area during helicopter patrols to ensure reliability with increased demand for electricity during the upcoming winter months.
The helicopter patrols have completed inspections on nearly 12,000 miles of FirstEnergy transmission line circuits in Northeast Ohio, the company said.
During the inspections, damaged wires, broken cross arms, failed insulators and other hardware problems not visible from the ground are looked for and then addressed as quickly as possible to avoid future power outages, according to FirstEnergy.
FirstEnergy said that it proactively conducts the inspections of the equipment to meet increased demand when the weather gets colder, and that it's even more crucial now with many working and learning remotely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to helicopter inspections, FirstEnergy has also been conducting inspections using “thermovision” cameras that capture infrared images of the electrical equipment that can detect potential problems within substations and on power lines that can not be observed during regular visual inspections.