Published September 08, 2011, 12:00 PM
Beginning Monday Sept. 12 and continuing for three to six weeks, Xcel Energy will conduct a visual inspection of its electric transmission lines in Minnesota by helicopter.
Xcel Energy’s transmission lines stretch across southern Minnesota from the Wisconsin border to the South Dakota border, crisscross the central portion of the state from the Twin Cities to the St. Cloud area, and span an area from the Twin Cities north to the Canadian border.
The helicopter flights enable crews to look for defects or loose fittings. Trouble spots that could cause power outages will be identified and later repaired.
The patrols will occur during daylight hours, and the helicopter will fly within 50 feet of the lines or hover near a transmission structure if something needs a closer look, officials said.
The helicopter flight schedule is dependent upon weather and other factors, but tentatively the schedule is to begin in northern Minnesota. Lines in southeastern Minnesota near Zumbrota, Zumbro Falls and Dodge Center will be patrolled next.