---- — Weather permitting, National Grid will have helicopters flying over the Merrimack Valley on Monday and Tuesday to inspect key overhead power lines.
Area communities to be observed include Andover, North Andover, Lawrence, Salem N.H., Methuen, Haverhill, Groveland, Georgetown, Tewksbury, Rowley, Chelmsford, Newbury, Newburyport, Amesbury and West Newbury
The helicopter patrols help the company spot potential problems with equipment structures or lines so that they can be addressed before service interruptions occur.
Many of the power lines, which are major supply circuits, traverse remote areas that are difficult to access with vehicles, or on foot. The aerial view gained from a flyover also enables crews to spot potential problems with trees or tree limbs that may be too close to lines. Damage caused by falling trees of limbs can be a major cause of power outages, National Grid said in a statement.
Additionally, inspectors conduct visual and infrared inspections. The infrared camera detects heat and is helpful in pinpointing areas where equipment wear or loose connections literally create visible “hot spots.”
The utility has notified police and fire departments as well as municipal officials. Anyone with questions or concerns can contact National Grid’s toll-free customer service line at 1-800-322-3223.