Xcel Energy begins inspections by helicopter

Xcel Energy is visually inspecting its electricity transmission lines in Minnesota, eastern North Dakota and South Dakota by helicopter.

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.

Transmission line inspections are part of Xcel Energy’s ongoing system maintenance to ensure safe, reliable service to customers. The lines stretch across southern Minnesota from the Wisconsin border to the South Dakota border; cross the central portion of the state from the Twin Cities to the St. Cloud area and continue northwest to the North Dakota border.

They span an area from the Twin Cities north to the Canadian border.

The inspections are scheduled to last three to four weeks.

The patrols, which began Sunday, May 11, 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. Typically, the flights are conducted at speeds of 30 to 45 miles per hour.

Data collected will help Xcel Energy reduce the number of equipment-related outages on its transmission lines. Xcel Energy maintains more than 7,200 miles of transmission lines in Minnesota and neighboring states.

The helicopter flight schedule is dependent upon weather and other factors.


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