LPEA alerts community of aerial inspection of transmission line

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By Indiana Reed
Special to The SUN
La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) partnering with ESC Engineering will conduct a helicopter flyover/data collection of LPEA’s transmission assets in east La Plata County and Archuleta County on Wednesday, June 19. The effort is designed as part of LPEA’s ongoing maintenance program to ensure reliability and upgrade service to members in Archuleta County.
ESC is an electrical engineering consulting firm that provides a full spectrum of services, including design, planning, control systems and automation integration.
“It’s an efficient and cost effective way to gather data and inspect the lines located in rugged and forested terrain, such as the San Juan National Forest,” said Justin Talbot, manager of operations. “We anticipate improvements to be made and new equipment to be built along that corridor to ensure reliability. The first step is gathering data.”
The helicopter inspection is anticipated to run 7 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m., and the flight will follow LPEA’s transmission lines from Beaver Meadows in the Bayfield area through the forest, roughly paralleling U.S. 160 to LPEA’s Ponderosa substation in Archuleta County. The helicopter is equipped with advanced data collection equipment with a visual profile that differs from the typical helicopters seen in the area. The flight will initiate in Durango.
“Essentially we want to alert the community of the aerial inspection,” said Ron Meier, manager of engineering and member relations. “We don’t have a great deal of air traffic around here, so we know people do notice when something is out of the ordinary, especially during fire season, and we want to keep community members informed.”
For further information on the aerial inspection, contact Meier at 382-3513.