Low-flying helicopters to patrol Tampa Electric’s transmission structures
TAMPA, June 2, 2014
Area residents need not be alarmed if they see low-flying helicopters hovering around Tampa Electric transmission poles and towers in the next month. It’s part of the company’s ongoing inspection of transmission equipment.
The first phase of the work will begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday and continue for about 30 days during daylight hours. Crews will survey about 5,100 transmission structures, approximately 20 percent of the system.
A low-flying helicopter will hover for a short time about 150 to 300 feet above the ground near each structure as workers visually inspect equipment. These inspections are expected to be complete by July 9, weather permitting.
The company plans to start the project in the Brandon, Mulberry, Plant City and Winter Haven areas. In coming days, the surveys will reach Carrollwood, North Tampa, Odessa, Dade City, Lutz, Temple Terrace, Riverview, Tampa Port, Gibsonton, East Tampa, Town N’ Country, and Westshore areas. Haverfield Aviation, of Gettysburg, Pa., will conduct the inspections.
The second, faster phase of the work will begin July 14. Haverfield will use infrared technology to inspect all of Tampa Electric’s high-voltage transmission lines. A low-flying helicopter will hover about 10 to 20 feet above each transmission structure for a short time. Work will begin at 8 a.m. and continue during daylight hours on weekdays. This phase of inspection is expected to be completed by July 21, weather permitting.
The inspections are taking place along Tampa Electric’s 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.
The inspections are part of the company’s routine transmission maintenance.
Tampa Electric , one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, is part of the TECO Energy family of companies. Tampa Electric serves almost 700,000 customers in West Central Florida. TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE) is an energy-related holding company with regulated electric and gas utility operations in Florida through Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System . TECO Energy’s other major subsidiary, TECO Coal, owns and operates coal-production facilities in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.