PLP, city agree on demonstration project

Published 8:55 am Wednesday, February 5, 2020

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At Monday’s meeting of Albemarle City Council, Preformed Line Products Plant Manager John Ziebarth requested to use city electrical lines to demonstrate a new line of wildlife protection product called Raptor Protector.

The item to be installed “is designed to increase the visibility of overhead power lines, providing an economical means of reducing both bird fatalities and power outages,” according to the company website.

“Our new Inspection Services division utilizes drones to do aerial inspection of distribution and transmission power lines, as well as solar farms. This is an attempt to merge the wildlife protection devices with the use of drones to actually install these,” Ziebarth said. “I’ve been asked by our corporate marketing group to see if we can get permission to actually install several of these devices on an active power line here. We are hoping to do it on the power lines right in front of our plant at 1700 Woodhurst Lane.”

After his presentation, Ziebarth said a “drone can carry up to five of these at a time for installation,” as he passed out samples of the items for council members to review.

According to Ziebarth, the products will also aid in aerial inspection of electric lines, especially in areas where motor vehicle access is difficult.

“Inspecting overhead lines from the ground by foot, or using a truck is a slow process,” he said. “This will make the process easier and faster.”

Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Sue Hall asked if the city’s public utilities department would need any advance notice, or would need to be involved in the installation in any way, but neither Ziebarth nor Assistant Public Utilities Director Judy Redwine, who was present at the meeting, indicated this to be the case.

The motion passed unanimously.