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Tampa Electric warns of helicopters buzzing power lines

  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 4:00 p.m. February 22, 2024
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Tampa Electric Co. will scan more than 100 miles of power lines.
Tampa Electric Co. will scan more than 100 miles of power lines.
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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Tampa Electric Co. is alerting residents that they may soon see low-flying helicopters buzzing local power lines.

There is no need to panic, though. The power company says the aircrafts are part of project aimed at creating a digital model of its transmission equipment and to evaluate it.

Starting Monday, Feb. 26, the work will begin to scan about 100 miles of high-voltage power lines along the company’s urban and rural rights of way, mostly along Interstate 75 in south Hillsborough County and into Polk County. 

Some of these inspections will take place in full view of roads and neighborhoods, TECO says. The work will be done during daylight hours and is scheduled to be finished by March 10.

To scan a line, a helicopter will fly between 30 feet and 300 feet above the lines while workers inside will use infrared technology — or regular cameras — to look at the equipment. It will make several passes along each line. 

Siemens Energy is doing the scan, with Helicopter Express of Chamblee, Georgia, doing the flying.

As for those who may miss the message about what’s coming and panic at the sight of low-lying aircrafts near the power grid, local law enforcement will be notified about the work.

Tampa Electric is owned by Emera Inc. out of Canada. According to Emera, the company covers about 800,000 customers in a 2,000 square mile area that includes Hillsborough and parts of Polk, Pasco and Pinellas counties.



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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