Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) will be conducting aerial line inspections across the service territory on Wednesday, July 12, beginning at 8 a.m. and lasting throughout the day. The patrol will be conducted by Mountain Blade Runner of Montrose using a helicopter.
Work will start in Montrose and the flight pattern will proceed to Delta, Surface Creek, and Cedaredge, then through the North Fork Valley and return to Montrose.
Aerial line patrol is conducted annually as part of DMEA's system reliability program which helps ensure safe and reliable delivery of power to homes and businesses across Montrose and Delta counties.
"Our aerial line patrol program allows us to inspect the hard-to-reach lines on our power system. It's more efficient and effective to patrol our mountainous terrain from above, so our crews can scan for damaged or worn equipment. It's an important preventative maintenance tool that lets us identify red flags before they impact service to members," said Troy Hall, Montrose operations supervisor.
DMEA linemen ride along with the pilot looking for potential problems with lines and equipment on DMEA's system before they cause power outages. Thermal imaging is also used to identify "hot spots." Excess heat can signify areas that need attention because equipment with even minor damage or wear will heat up.
In total, DMEA will inspect more than 3,000 miles of power lines across all portions of the service territory. Members may see and hear the inspection process, as the flights are typically low flying to allow for visual inspections.
DMEA serves approximately 32,000 residential, commercial and industrial meters, on over 3,000 miles of cooperative-owned distribution line.
Two fatal accidents occurred in Delta County within a two-day span last week.
Casey Gillenwater, 25, of Delta was killed the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 133 outside of Hotchkiss.