NOVI (WWJ) — If you see a helicopter hovering near major power lines between now and Halloween, don’t flip out.
The company that owns much of Michigan’s power grid, Novi-based ITC Holdings, said it will be conducting its twice-a-year aerial inspections of high-voltage transmission towers and lines from Oct. 24 to Oct. 31.
ITC says the helicopter patrols are conducted to provide an overall status of the overhead transmission system that is operated by ITC’s Michigan operating entities, ITCTransmission and Michigan Electric Transmission Co. LLC.
The inspections will take place in an area ranging approximately from Lansing, south to the Ohio border and east to the Lake St. Clair area, including all or parts of Ingham, Jackson, Hillsdale, Lenawee, Washtenaw, Livingston, Oakland, Macomb, St. Clair, Wayne and Monroe counties.
These twice-a-year patrols are a North American Electrical Reliability Corp. requirement for ITC’s operations, maintenance and vegetation management functions. They include inspections of steel towers, wood poles, power lines, insulators and other equipment. Crews check for damaged or worn equipment and vegetation hazards.
The inspection flights are often conducted at low altitudes to allow accurate visual inspection of equipment for lightning damage, wear or other potential problems. This is normal, so there is no cause for alarm if a low-flying helicopter is sighted near transmission lines.
ITCTransmission owns, operates and maintains about 2,800 miles of transmission lines in southeast Michigan, serving a population of 5.1 million.
METC owns, operates and maintains about 5,500 miles of transmission lines in the western and northern portions of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, serving 4.9 million people.