PG&E Using ‘Heli-Saw’ Again Starting Today
This is a press release from Pacific Gas and Electric Company:
EUREKA, Calif. — Starting Monday, February 12, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will fly a helicopter saw along four electric transmission lines that span from Humboldt to Trinity Counties to improve electric safety and reliability. A helicopter saw, or heli-saw, is a series of circular saws suspended from a high-performance helicopter used to trim the tops and sides of trees near high voltage transmission lines. PG&E uses the heli-saw in remote areas to maintain safe and reliable service to its customers in East Humboldt County.
PG&E will prune the limbs to prevent future power outages and to increase public safety. A helicopter saw is a safe, efficient way to prune trees in remote areas where snow and muddy roads make safe vehicular access of the transmission line corridor a challenge.
The transmission line runs through remote areas north of Patrick’s Point State Park to the town of Orick. Work will occur along the transmission line in Humboldt County. Property owners along the 10 miles where the pruning will take place have been notified in advance.
This targeted project is one part of PG&E’s robust vegetation management program in which the energy company prunes or removes approximately 1.4 million trees annually. PG&E’s 70,000 square-mile service area includes more than 120 million trees with potential to grow or fall into overhead power lines.
PG&E inspects and monitors every overhead electric transmission and distribution line each year, with some lines patrolled multiple times (18,000 transmission miles plus 81,000 distribution miles is about 100,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines).
Before the heli-saw, a small helicopter (four-passenger A Star) will conduct an initial fly-over of the transmission lines to review terrain, pruning areas, roads, creeks, and other general avoidance areas. The heli-saw will fly 7 days a week, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Work is expected to be completed in a week but may take longer depending on the weather.