MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Xcel Energy will do a visual inspection of electric transmission lines by helicopter in Minnesota and eastern North and South Dakota starting Monday, July 9.
Xcel’s transmission lines run across southern Minnesota from the Wisconsin boarder to the South Dakota border. They crisscross central Minnesota from the Twin Cities to the St. Cloud area, and span an area from the Twin Cities to the Canadian border.
The helicopter flights enable Xcel’s crews to search for loose fittings or defects that could cause power outages.
The flights will happen during daylight hours, with helicopters flying within 50 feet of the lines or hovering near transmission structures if a closer look is needed. The flights are at speeds of 30-45 miles per hour.
Xcel maintains more than 7,000 miles of transmission lines in Minnesota and neighboring states. Data collection will help Xcel reduce the number of equipment-related outages.
The inspections should last three to six weeks, and the flight schedule is dependent upon weather and other factors.