ITC Midwest conducting aerial patrols of transmission lines in area

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, September 21, 2021

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ITC Midwest will conduct aerial patrols of high-voltage transmission structures and lines throughout its service territory from approximately Sept. 27 through Oct. 8, weather permitting. Helicopter patrols provide an overall status of the overhead transmission system owned and operated by ITC Midwest, according to a press release.

The flights will be conducted in the Asbury, Clinton, Dubuque, Independence, Key West, Lansing and Mason City areas in Iowa, as well as the communities of Adams, Fairmont, Glenville, Harmony, Hayward, Jackson, Luverne, Sherburn and Winnebago in Minnesota.

Iowa counties in the aerial patrol areas include Allamakee, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Dickinson, Dubuque, Fayette, Franklin, Hancock, Howard, Jackson, Kossuth, Mitchell, Osceola, Winnebago and Worth. In addition, aerial patrols will take place in Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Jackson, Martin, Mower, Nobles and Rock counties in Minnesota.

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These patrols are a North American Electrical Reliability Corporation (NERC) requirement for ITC Midwest’s vegetation management program, support proactive maintenance objectives, and align with the company’s model for operational excellence. They include inspections of steel structures, wood poles, conductors (wires), insulators and other equipment. Crews check for damaged or worn equipment and vegetation hazards.

The inspection flights are often conducted at low altitudes to allow accurate visual inspection of equipment for lightning damage, wear or other potential problems. This is normal procedure, so there is no cause for alarm if a low-flying helicopter is sighted near transmission lines during the time frame listed above.