MARTINEZ -- If residents see a helicopter hovering in the neighborhood, there is no cause for alarm.

The aerial PG&E maintenance maneuvers are underway so workers, equipment and new sections can be lowered to the top of six high-voltage towers in Martinez to make upgrades.

The helicopters are also used to adjust lines and to retrieve workers and materials on a project that includes 10 towers and which may continue until Aug. 12, according to a PG&E presentation at the July 16 Martinez City Council meeting.

PG&E crews with crane-mounted trucks are also replacing four insulators.

There could be 72-hour "no parking" restrictions in the vicinity of work, which begins at 7 a.m. However, customers are not expected to experience any interruption of power service.

The tower extensions will raise the height of lattice steel towers to conform to current North American Electric Reliability Corporation standards (NERC).

NERC is an international not-for-profit regulatory authority overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which controls how power is transmitted throughout Canada, the United States and Baja, Mexico.

When the FERC increased the ground-to-conductor clearance requirements, the NERC required power suppliers -- such as PG&E -- to make a tower compliance review.

That was accomplished recently with an airborne laser mapping survey of the 12,500-mile system which revealed 10 Martinez towers in need of upgrades.


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Similar projects are occurring in Antioch, Walnut Creek, Moraga, Orinda and other parts of California.

Contact Dana Guzzetti at dguzzetti10@gmail.com or call 925-202-9292.

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