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FirstEnergy Completes Proactive Aerial Inspections of High-Voltage Power Lines in Eastern Pennsylvania

April 14, 2022
Completed twice each year, aerial inspections are conducted from a helicopter to help quickly spot and assess infrastructure in need of repair or replacement not readily visible from the ground.

Mid-Atlantic Interstate Transmission (MAIT), a transmission subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has completed proactive visual inspections of nearly 1400 miles of its high-voltage transmission lines in areas served by FirstEnergy's Met-Ed electric utility.

Completed twice each year, aerial inspections are conducted from a helicopter to help quickly spot and assess infrastructure in need of repair or replacement not readily visible from the ground. The helicopter flies along transmission lines at 25 to 30 mph, giving an onboard inspector a bird's-eye view of each steel or wooden transmission structure and the wire strung between them.

When a potential issue is spotted, the helicopter may circle back and hover as long as necessary for the inspector to take high-resolution photos of transmission infrastructure. Inspectors are on the lookout for items such as broken crossarms, damaged insulators, bent lattice steel, damaged wood poles and damaged wire. Harsh winter storms, exposure to weather and age can cause such conditions.

"The transmission system acts as the interstate highway of the electric grid, channeling power from generation sources and neighboring systems to local lines serving towns and communities," said Carl Bridenbaugh, FirstEnergy's vice president of Transmission. "We seek out, prioritize and address issues as necessary to help prevent potential power outages, especially with higher electric usage and severe weather expected in the summer months ahead."

The inspections covered transmission lines in Adams, Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, Monroe, Northampton, Pike and York counties. The flight crew was in communication with local airports when operating within their airspace.

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