Thursday, October 31, 2013

New South Wales, Australia: Pilots beware

Essential Energy is reminding pilots and property owners to be aware of the potential dangers of overhead powerlines after two incidents in Cowra this week where aircraft contacted the electricity network.

Essential Energy's regional manager Southern, Steven Ilitch, urged pilots and farmers to adopt safe work practices and identify the location of the overhead electricity network before taking to the air.

"This week local crews have responded to two separate incidents where aircraft have made contact with high voltage overhead powerlines," Steven said.

"In both instances, crews were able to isolate supply, make the site safe and restore power to affected customers as quickly as safety allowed.

"I remind anyone engaging in aerial activities such as aerial application or mustering, that the smallest contact between a plane and powerlines can be fatal.

"As the height of overhead powerlines can vary significantly with changing topology, pre-flight planning and briefing is essential to safe air travel."

Farmers and pilots should remember to stay alert while in the air as powerlines can be difficult to see from above, especially at dawn and dusk, and on rainy or overcast days.

"You have to keep your wits about you when flying near the overhead electricity network," Steven said. "Essential Energy maintains around 200,000 kilometres of powerlines across 95 percent of New South Wales and safety is our highest priority."

Essential Energy recommends farmers install line markers to increase the visibility of powerlines on their property. Flag markers are lightweight, are visible both day and night and flap in the breeze to attract attention. They can be fitted by Essential Energy for a small cost.

"We cannot stress enough the importance of knowing the location of overhead powerlines on properties and surrounding areas - the information could save your life," Steven said.

Maps detailing the location of Essential Energy's overhead electricity network are available on request for individuals and companies involved in aerial activities. Contact Essential Energy on 13 23 91 or visit

To report an incident involving an overhead powerline, contact Essential Energy immediately on 13 20 80.


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