Penelec installs equipment on powerlines in Crawford County in effort to protect bald eagles

Local News

An electric company is going above and beyond to improve power supply in Crawford County.

Penelec is also taking the environment into consideration as these changes impact the Erie National Wildlife Refuge.

Penelec Crews are using a helicopter to install equipment on power lines. All in an effort to help bald eagles avoid in flight collisions.

At the Erie National Wildlife Refuge in Crawford County some precautions recently became necessary.

Penelec is installing a more permanent distribution line that feeds electricity to the Northwestern Rural Electric Cooperative.

“We’re going to go over and you can see the line is up already. It’s 120 feet off the ground and it runs about 2,000 feet. So it’ll be something that is much more reliable than what we replaced,” said Todd Meyers, Penelec Spokesperson.

While their efforts continue to improve power supply in the region, they are going above and beyond to protect the environment.

“We’re using these things called avion flight diverters and using the helicopter. They are hanging these every 15 feet or so on the three lines and they give the lines a thickness,” said Meyers.

Meyers said that since 2014, bald eagles have nested in that area. Thus crews had to do something to ensure birds would not be harmed.

“We don’t want those eagles to run into the line to have a collision with our line to injure themselves or cause an outage when they’re going down to fish,” said Meyers.

One representative from the Tamarack Wildlife Rehab Center and Founder of the Erie Bird Observatory said these safety measures are necessary.

“I think it’s a good idea there being put up. Eagles in particular have a large wing span depending on the size of the eagle. They can bridge across the lines,” said Sarah Sargent, Founder of Erie Bird Conservatory.

Sargent said that when this happens it can cause shortages in the lines and be fatal for the birds.

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