Enel Distribución performs massive helicopter aerial inspection of 2,015 kilometers of high and medium voltage power lines

Published on Friday, 7 February 2020

  • The helicopter inspection will help achieve higher levels of efficiency by optimizing the work that on land would take around 50 weeks, reducing it to 6 weeks.
  • The technology used can detect anomalies in higher density urban zones and identify any defects in the electrical grid, so as to more precisely address the problem areas.


Santiago, February 7, 2020 – For the purpose of detecting the weak points in the Enel Distribución electric system and anticipating and preventing potential service interruptions, a helicopter specially equipped with state-of-the-art technology is currently inspecting a total of 2,015 kilometers of high and medium power lines, in 39 communities of the Metropolitan Region.

This type of technology is highly efficient and can cover 2,015 kilometers of power lines by air, optimizing the inspection time to 6 weeks. The conventional ground method would take around 50 weeks, so this significantly reduces inspection times.

The helicopter that is patrolling the lines, has 3 types of high resolution camera technologies incorporated within the fuselage, which can scan the infrastructure at a rate of 500,000 points per second.

“This activity is part of the Enel Distribución Winter Plan, which includes preventive measures aimed at reducing the possibility of service interruptions in climate contingency situations and mitigating their effects. The incorporation of technology in the aerial inspection activity to identify anomalies or defects in the high and medium voltage power lines allows for the continuous improvement of diagnostics and maintenance, thus improving the company’s service to its customers,” explains Ramón Castañeda, CEO of Enel Distribución.

The initiative has already been reported to the authority, meets the highest safety standards and is duly authorized by the Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics. The flights will be performed at the permitted altitude, at low speeds and for very short times in each area, and will not affect residents’ privacy as it will only focus on the power lines.

Fly-overs will begin on February 7th between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday and Saturdays from 08:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at an average speed of 40 Km/h in order to perform a diagnostic and subsequent maintenance on the electrical grid, which is expected to help improve the company’s service.

Advanced Technology

For inspection, thermography technology, laser technology and high-definition photographs are used to quickly and effectively detect high-temperature points along the grid, distribution or transmission infrastructure with visible damage and elements that are very close to the power lines, like tree limbs or other types of objects that could come in contact with the lines and produce short circuits. By detecting all of these issues on time, they can be addressed on a preventive basis and improve the quality of service.

Information Channels

During the 6 weeks of air inspection, customers can access all necessary information (communities, days) on the helicopter's flight plan. For questions, you can contact the company through its different channels, including the Call Center (600 696 0000), website enel.cl, Twitter account @EnelClientesCL and Facebook EnelChile ,which will formally register all questions to be addressed.