High tech trial in rural Whanganui     

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Lines company Powerco is currently using state of the art technology to see the condition of its poles, wires and crossarms in the Whanganui area.

Last month Powerco commenced a pole top photography trial in the rural Whanganui area. It means low flying helicopters, carrying a photographer with high tech photographic equipment, work their way along the entire network taking 12 images of every power pole. 

In conjunction with this, a trial is being conducted using light detection and ranging (LiDAR) surveying method that is laser technology to produce a 3D powerline model of the network. The pole top photography will be integrated into the modelling. 

It’s the first time Powerco has used pole top photography and Lidar on such a large area. The work is due to be completed by the end of April. 

Powerco General Manager for Electricity Asset Management, Ryno Verster said the Whanganui area was chosen including Raetihi and Taihape, down to Marton due to the remote and rugged landscape that often suffers badly in storms. 

“It is very difficult to do pole inspections by foot in this type of geography. We chose rural Whanganui for the trial with the intent to have a more thorough and complete picture of the state of the network in this vast area,” he said. 

Powerco Asset Fleet Manager Paul Blackmore says this trial is an exciting initiative. 

“This will improve the accuracy of our inspection data, it will help us reduce the risk of power outages and faults from defects that cannot readily be seen from the ground and are often missed,” he said. 

“It means we can better plan and prioritise our line renewal, maintenance and vegetation management programs which will help us ensure our network is safer and more reliable for our customers.”

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