Power Grid plans aerial patrolling of transmission lines

The failure of power grids for two straight days last month impacted more than half of country's population.

Updated: Aug 26, 2012, 17:01 PM IST

New Delhi: State-run Power Grid Corp plans to deploy helicopters for aerial patrolling of electricity transmission lines, a move aimed at checking their safety and security in the eventuality of natural disasters or sabotages.

The plan has been under consideration for quite sometime.

The failure of power grids for two straight days last month impacted more than half of country's population.

Power Grid runs the five electricity grids in the country — Northern, Eastern, North Eastern, Southern and Western.

In its 2011-12 annual report, the company has said that it has state-of-the-art Emergency Restoration Systems (ERS) at strategic locations for restoration of collapsed transmission line towers in case of eventualities such as earthquake, fire, cyclone, landslides and sabotage.

"Some potent options are also being explored like use of robotic technology for condition monitoring of conductor, earthwire and hardwares besides aerial patrolling of transmission lines using helicopters," the report said.

According to the company, the complexities involved in operating grids are escalating especially with expanding transmission network.

Power Grid Chairman and Managing Director R N Nayak, in the annual report, has said that Indian power grid had not experienced any major grid disturbance during the past nine years till the major disturbances on July 30 and July 31.

The Northern, Eastern and North Eastern grids tripped on July 31, less than 24 hours after the Northern grid failed and was restored.

On the failures, Nayak noted that the essential loads were restored "at the fastest pace within few hours of the incidents and power supply was restored progressively and normalised completely on the same day of the incident(s)".

Nayak said various actions are being taken by the company to avoid such incidents in the future, without providing specific details.

The company was operating about 92,981 circuit kilometres (kms) of inter-state transmission lines as on March 31, 2012. One circuit km refers to one km of electrical transmission line.

Power Grid raked in profit after tax of Rs 3,254.95 crore on turnover of Rs 10,785.01 crore in the last fiscal.