NOVI – If you see helicopters flying low of high-voltage transmission towers and lines over the next month, don’t worry. It’s ITC Michigan conducting aerial patrols to make sure the electric grid isn’t damaged.
The flights will take place from May 17 to June 17, weather permitting. 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 Company, LLC (METC).
The aerial inspections will cover nearly all of the Lower Peninsula, including all or part of the following counties:
- May 17-19: Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne
- May 20-25: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Clinton, Eaton, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lenawee, St. Joseph, and Van Buren
- May 28 – June 4: Clinton, Genesee, Gratiot, Huron, Ingham, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Midland, Oakland, Saginaw, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair, and Tuscola
- June 7-10: Clinton, Gratiot, Isabella, Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana and Ottawa
- June 11-17: Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Arenac, Bay, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Midland, Missaukee, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Wexford
These patrols are a North American Electrical Reliability Corporation (NERC) requirement for ITC’s vegetation management program, support proactive maintenance objectives, and are in line with the company’s model for operational excellence. They include inspections of steel towers, wood poles, conductors (wires), 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 procedure, so there is no cause for alarm if a low-flying helicopter is sighted near transmission lines.
ITC Holdings Corp., the nation’s largest independent electricity transmission company based in Novi, owns and operates two subsidiaries in the state: ITCTransmission and METC (collectively, ITC Michigan). The two systems comprise approximately 8,700 circuit miles of transmission line serving most of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
For further information visit www.itc-holdings.com. ITC is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry.