Helicopter Crew Working On Powerlines In Newark Mistaken For Crash

Newark – At around 3:15 this afternoon rescue crews responded to North Harmony Road for reports of an aircraft emergency. Callers told 911 dispatchers that a helicopter had crashed into the powerlines.

Within just a few minutes dispatchers were able to determine that a helicopter crew was working in the area and made contact with the pilot. The pilot reported that everything was fine.

Coincidently just before all of the excitement Timothy Stokes, spokesman for Delmarva release the following statement.

Through the air, Delmarva Power is modernizing the local energy grid with the addition of new optical ground wire (OPGW) between key substations serving New Castle County. The work, which will enhance reliability for more than 36,000 customers, will begin and end with the use of helicopters to set up the line placement.

The OPGW upgrade will provide both a communications function and protective support barrier for Delmarva Power transmission lines. The new OPGW line, located at the topmost position of the company’s transmission poles, will allow Delmarva Power substations to communicate between one another more efficiently. Better communication functions between substations enhances the local energy grid’s resiliency and the company’s ability to isolate potential service interruptions to fewer customers. The OPGW upgrade also helps protect the high voltage transmission lines from lightning, which causes seven percent of power outages in the Delmarva Power service area.

Delaware customers continue to benefit from the enhancements made by Delmarva Power to the safety and reliability of the local energy grid. Over the last five years, the frequency of outages in Delmarva Power’s Delaware service area has decreased nearly 35 percent. This $890,000 upgrade is part of the $428 million spent each year by Delmarva Power to maintain and modernize the local energy grid – providing customers the safe, reliable energy service they have come to expect.

Helicopters provide a more efficient and safer option for this kind of work when access to structures is limited and can minimize impacts to customers in the local area. Customers in New Castle County may see low flying helicopters in the area in November and December supporting this important work.

Work first began near Delmarva Power’s West Wilmington substation and Brandywine Park facility in late October and was completed in early November. The final leg of the project began Monday, Nov. 26, near Delmarva Power’s Harmony and Kiamensi substations. Road signs have been placed around the work zone to alert those traveling in and out of the area. This work is not expected to impact service for customers.