First Energy uses helicopter to thread power lines - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

First Energy uses helicopter to thread power lines

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First Energy got started on a project to make its energy grid in Sandusky County more reliable, but the means of getting the job done may surprise some people.

The company is using a helicopter to hang high voltage transmission lines onto the arms of towers.

"This is a project that will help to reinforce the reliability of the grid that runs from Davis Besse to a new substation we're building near Fremont that will eventually run to a new station near Lake Erie," says Chris Eck with First Energy.

The helicopter's pilot carefully tows each line from one tower to the next, threading the needle to connect each line.

It's a dangerous job, but it's a method that makes sense.

"Some of these towers stand in excessive environmental areas, wetlands and so forth. It's much easier on the environment to do this from a helicopter than doing it from a truck on the ground," says Eck.

By the time the project is finished, the chopper will have strung 30 miles worth of lines.

The project is part of First Energy's $700 million transmission upgrade to strengthen its entire grid in Northwest Ohio. First Energy says they have more projects planned throughout the year.

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