Power line clearance survey - AusNet Services

3D imagery and LiDAR solution enables fast and comprehensive survey of electrical clearances on power distribution and transmission network.
AusNet Services, Melbourne, Victoria

Business Challenge
AusNet Services, (formally SP AusNet), owns and operates $11bn of electricity and gas network assets including an electricity distribution network servicing 668,000 homes and businesses in eastern Victoria.

Following the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission into the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires, the Commission made 8 recommendations relating to electrical supply assets.

These recommendations paved the way for Victoria’s distribution businesses to review and adapt their current asset management practices.

As a result, AusNet Services engaged Geomatic Technologies (GT) as a reputable asset mapping service provider to identify powerline clearances on its network that require remedial action.

Services Overview
As early as 2012, AusNet Services engaged GT to survey 2000 poles/spans in the Benalla and Pakenham areas.

To undertake the survey GT mobilised its GT AIMS 3D (Asset Inspection Mapping System) solution incorporating 3D panoramic imagery and LiDAR sensors. With the solution mounted on a survey vehicle, data could be rapidly collected by driving along power line easements.

By utilising a ground-based approach, the sensors were positioned close to the power poles so that the desired accuracy requirements could be met. This was verified by AusNet Services through a separate auditing exercise.

Once the data had been processed, special software, GT AIMS Catenary, was used to manage desktop-based data analysis, feature classification and catenary modelling.

This software integrates 3D imagery with LiDAR data and contains workflows to automate the reporting of any clearance violations. It also allows equipment to be mapped and asset condition to be assessed.

While the inspections were primarily focused on clearances between conductor-to-conductor,
conductor-to-ground and conductor-to-structure, GT also analysed conductor-to-vegetation clearances.

Outcomes
GT AIMS 3D represents a paradigm shift in how conductor separations are assessed on power networks. It promotes faster identification and response to address any problem locations, enhancing routine bushfire mitigation activities.

The detailed survey and data analysis enabled AusNet Services to quickly and cost effectively identify any power line clearances of concern.

This assisted AusNet Services to prioritise its asset management programs, aimed at providing its customers with a safe and reliable supply of electricity.

In particular, the survey delivered several reports on the clearances of a range of assets including: Circuit-to-circuit, Phase-to-phase, Circuit-to-ground and Cross arm clearances.