Tampa Electric to begin annual aerial inspection of transmission system
Infrared patrol inspection of transmission circuits to be followed by above-ground inspection of transmission structures
TAMPA, February 26, 2010
Area residents need not be alarmed if they soon see low-flying helicopters hovering around Tampa Electric transmission lines, poles and towers. It’s part of a two-phase inspection the company is conducting of its electrical infrastructure that will include about 3,800 structures, or one-sixth of the company’s transmission system.
For the first phase of its inspections, beginning March 1, Tampa Electric will be conducting its annual Infrared Patrol, an aerial inspection of the company’s transmission circuits from power plants to substations throughout its service territory, including Sebring. The infrared inspections will be performed by a helicopter flying approximately 10 to 20 feet above the transmission structures using a Forward-Looking Infra-Red Camera (FLIR). The helicopter may momentarily hover next to each transmission pole or structure being inspected. The FLIR Patrol inspections, which will identify possible deficiencies with lines and structures, should be completed in about seven days, weather permitting.
The second phase of the inspection process, beginning March 10, will be Above-Ground visual inspections of the company’s transmission structures, also to be performed by a low-flying helicopter that will hover for a short time at each structure. These inspections are expected to be completed by mid-April.
The transmission system being inspected is located along Tampa Electric urban and rural rights-of-way. Some inspections will take place within view of area roads and neighborhoods. Local law enforcement officials will be notified of the inspections.
Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE: TE), an integrated energy-related holding company with regulated utility businesses, complemented by a family of unregulated businesses. Tampa Electric Company is a regulated utility with both electric and gas divisions (Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System). Other subsidiaries are engaged in coal, and electric generation and distribution in Guatemala.