Choppers to the rescue | Hindustan Times
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Choppers to the rescue

Pawan Hans will deploy helicopters to spray chemicals on power lines to prevent tripping due to pollution, reports Sidhartha Roy.

delhi Updated: Oct 29, 2008 23:15 IST

Delhi might face less power cuts this winter if a special plan of the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. (PGCIL) proves to be a success.

The corporation plans to use helicopters to clean its transmission lines so they don’t trip in the foggy season.

During fog, transmission wires and insulators become moist and so dust and other pollutants get deposited on them, resulting in tripping.

At present, the pollutants are cleaned manually which not only takes a lot of time but cleaning the insulators regularly also proves to be difficult.

This is the first time in the country that helicopters would be used for this purpose.

“Cleaning of the high tension wires would be done by Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd. De-mineralised water would be aerially sprayed on the electric towers to clean them,” said a senior official of the Ministry of Civil


To begin with, Pawan Hans would use one Bell 206L4 type helicopter in the Dadri area and then further go on till Aligarh and Muradnagar to clean transmission lines of PGCIL.

Pawan Hans would carry out a trial run on Thursday.

“A helicopter would be able to clean about 15 transmission towers in a day while manually this work would take up days. The helicopter has been fitted with a special tank and the de-mineralised water would be sprayed through a pipe,” the official said.

De-mineralised water, which is not conducive to electricity, has been procured from thermal power stations.

“The water would clean all dust, bird droppings and dew collected on the transmission lines and insulators,” he said.

During fog, these pollutants stick to the transmission more easily and cause tripping. The resultant power failures not only affect Delhi but also neighboring states like Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

Last year many areas in north and north-west Delhi went without power for hours due to such tripping.

“At present workers have to climb up each transmission tower and clean the insulators manually, which is a very time consuming process because the high-tension cables are spread over kilometers,” he said. “A helicopter would just fly from one tower to another and do the same work in hours.”

While this method is used in many other countries, it has never been tried in India though it was being planned for the past few years.

Official sources said that while earlier PGCIL wanted to procure its own helicopters, later the work was given out to Pawan Hans.

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