PECO, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is conducting helicopter inspections of its transmission lines as an important part of the utility's regular program to ensure safe and reliable electric service to homes and businesses throughout the area.

The company has contracted Haverfield Airship, a provider of aerial power line inspection and maintenance services to the electric power industry, to perform infrared and visual inspection of more than 1000 miles of transmission lines in PECO's six county service territory. The infrared equipment detects portions of the lines that may need to be repaired or replaced, while visual inspections of other aerial equipment like conductors and transmission towers identify potential damage due to weather, such as high winds or lightening strikes. There are no outages or customer impacts associated with the inspections.

During the next few weeks, a helicopter will fly approximately 12 to 20 feet above transmission lines and structures to perform the inspections.

"Like the rest of our electric system, transmission lines are exposed to weather-related elements all year long," said Craig Adams, PECO chief operating officer. "Extreme temperatures, high wind, and lightening can have an effect on conductors, switches, clamps, and other equipment. Conducting these inspections helps ensure we can fix these problems before they cause a power outage."

PECO owns approximately 1,035 miles of above ground transmission line in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. The company conducts helicopter inspections of all of its transmission lines annually.

Most of PECO's transmission right of ways are in the suburban counties connecting the region's power plants to local substations, and connecting substation to substation for increased reliability.