We in Colorado and the other Rocky Mountain states are privileged to live in or near vast areas of forested land with breathtaking views. As you've no doubt heard Colorado is experiencing a number of wild fires burning out of control. In particular the "Black Forest" fire near Colorado Springs has consumed over 22 square miles destroying over 500 homes killing two as of this writing. Ongoing drought conditions and high temperatures make our forests a tinder box for dry lightning strikes and other natural forms of ignition keeping state fire fighters on edge. Natural causes is one thing, but allowing encroaching vegetation to compromise clearance areas next to high voltage power lines is altogether another story!
In June of this year, the "Blue Bell" fire in Evergreen, CO. and two wild fires in northern New Mexico were attributed to downed power lines as a result of falling trees allowed to exist within their "Critical Clearance Zones" mandated by N.E.R.C. (North American Electric Reliability Corporation). This regulatory agency can levy fines to utility companies totaling millions of dollars for ignoring the standard.
Imminent Threat Procedure:
"R1.4. Require a process or procedure for response to imminent threats of a vegetation related Sustained Outage. The process or procedure shall specify actions which shall include immediate communication of the threat to the Transmission Operator, and may include actions such as a temporary reduction in line Rating, switching lines out of service, or other actions.
The term "imminent threat" refers to a vegetation condition which is placing the transmission line at a significant risk of a Sustained Outage." This was reinforced by the August 2003 blackout also caused by a 'Danger Tree' that left an estimated 50 million people and thousands of businesses and public institutions in the East without power. It only takes one neglected tree to wreak havoc on a transmission grid! When you add a major forest fire to the mix -- it compounds the damage!
While N.E.R.C. allows for Transmission Operators to establish procedures germane to their individual conditions and terrain, the bottom line is they must have a plan. More importantly though, they must develop a way to document that all established procedures have been executed. Inspection of these Critical Clearance Zones can't be done by fly-overs alone and almost always require crews on the ground. Much of the time it involves driving or hiking into hard to reach areas putting the inspection crews in awkward even dangerous situations.
TruPulse 360 Laser Rangefinder
The revolutionary technology contained within the TruPulse 360 laser rangefinder creates a product that meets these challenges head on. If you've not seen it in action, you're denying yourself a cost effective efficient solution to the above. You decide exactly how and where you want to measure from.
Due to its superior optics and reflector-less capabilities, this unique laser rangefinder can obtain measurements aiming directly to the conductor. This shouldn't be taken for granted because not all lasers can recognize such a small target. It can fit inside a vest pocket and only requires 2 AA batteries, which makes this laser extremely field friendly.
Easy, on-board measurement routines can verify the distance from a conductor to encroaching vegetation or determine if a tree has the potential to hit a conductor if it were to be knocked over - all without additional software.
With the optional iTelligent™ iPhone Adaptor you can take images that support the data being collected for documenting all established procedures with time/date stamps, images, clearance values, and GPS location!
Read more about LTI products and vegetation management.
Call 1-800-OWN-A-LTI or email us to set up a practical demonstration.