Pepco using infrared, helicopters to check 650 miles of power lines this week

Pepco plans to inspect more than 650 miles of power lines throughout the District and Maryland this week, and it’s using helicopters and infrared cameras to do it.

The utility company says the move is a “proactive” measure to protect against outages.

“These regular inspections allow the company to proactively locate and repair areas of the energy system, making the system less susceptible to damage during extreme weather and preventing outages for customers,” the company said in a news release.

Helicopters won’t be zooming through the local airspace, though. Pepco says they’ll be flying low at a moderate speed in order to complete comprehensive visual inspections.

Infrared camera technology will be used to provide the Pepco team with clear visuals of potential areas of concern on both the transmission line and associated equipment.

After the inspections, Pepco said it’ll perform any needed upgrades or maintenance.

“Whether it’s a record heat wave, an intense thunderstorm or major hurricane, inspections such as these, help us ensure our systems and equipment are prepared to handle the extreme conditions we continue to see across our service area,” Donna Cooper, Pepco region president, said in the release.

“This work is essential to our operational success and making sure we can provide our customers the safe, affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy services they expect from us, no matter what.”

Pepco teams will focus on lines in D.C., Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Areas with lots of trees, such as Montgomery County, have been known to be problematic as trees come during storms.

Service is not expected to be impacted by the work.

The move to inspect regional power lines comes on the heels of repeated power outages in Southeast D.C.

Most recently, more than 3,000 customers were without power both Sunday and Monday. The outages also closed Washington Avenue in Southwest from 2nd to D streets for a time.

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