Xcel Energy to inspect transmission lines via helicopter

Beginning Friday, June 5, an Xcel Energy crew will fly a helicopter along Minnesota transmission lines. The crew will inspect electric systems and ensure they are reliable for summer usage. These inspections are federally required to secure a reliable electric system.

The inspections will look at all Minnesota Xcel Energy transmission lines. They will take 8-10 weeks, depending on weather conditions. The crew will note troublesome spots, as well as structural issues needing repairs. They will also note issues such as buildings on or near right-of-ways or trees growing near transmission lines.

“Helicopter inspections give us an opportunity to take a closer look at the lines and see a fairly close, birds-eye view to identify repairs we may need to make to help ensure the reliability of the grid,” said Xcel Energy transmission line maintenance coordinator Ralph Melgard.

Helicopters will fly within 50 feet of transmission lines at varying speeds. At times they will hover near infrastructure to perform more detailed inspections. The exact flight schedule is dependent on weather and flying conditions.

Xcel Energy operates more than 7,000 miles of high voltage transmission lines in the Upper Midwest.

For more information, visit xcelenergy.com.