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Helicopter-assisted crew performs maintenance on LES transmission lines

From the May 8, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published May 8, 2013

By Fallon Forbush
Communications Assistant



LES customers’ electric service was not impacted during the maintenance. Photos courtesy of Lincoln Electric System


Lincoln Electric System in Nebraska performed maintenance on overhead electric transmission lines via low-flying helicopter in its northwest, south and east Lincoln locations.
LES contractor, Source Helicopters, conducts maintenance on LES’s transmission lines in April.
LES contracted with Source Helicopters, a national, helicopter-assisted power transmission line contractor, to provide the maintenance services. The work was part of a project to strengthen the reliability of the transmission grid by ensuring overhead lines can transport power up to their rated capacity, the utility said.

"It took longer than originally planned and we did have some weather-related problems that slowed the helicopter work," said Ken Rittgarn, LES manager of contract management. "Other than taking longer it pretty much went as planned."

LES's decision to use helicopters for the maintenance was largely due to seasonal weather issues in the area, said Dave Brozek, LES manager of construction and maintenance. The maintenance work began on April 15 and was expected to be completed by April 19. Weather conditions pushed completion to April 29.
"Rain and snow would drastically impact access to lattice towers due to soft soil conditions and property damage created using conventional utility vehicles, which extends the project completion time frame and adds restoration costs to the project," said Brozek.
"Using the helicopter prevented damage to the right of way that would require restoration," said Rittgarn.


LES contractor, Source Helicopters, conducts maintenance on LES’s transmission lines in April 



In this photo, the helicopter-assisted crew is raising 115-kilovolt transmission lines to ensure they are capable of transporting power up to their rated capacity


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Senior Vice President, Publishing 
Jeanne Wickline LaBella

Editorial Director
Robert Varela

Editor, Public Power Daily
Jeannine Anderson

Communications Assistant
Fallon W. Forbush

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David L. Blaylock

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Laura D’Alessandro