Mellow yellow pylons at Straid

NIE teams add a temporary touch of colour to the electricity network as part of ongoing maintenance programmes. INLT 34-612-CON
NIE teams add a temporary touch of colour to the electricity network as part of ongoing maintenance programmes. INLT 34-612-CON

IT might look like Straid has been chosen as the scenic setting for some shocking public art project on a massive scale, but the reason for electricity pylons being painted yellow in recent days is much more mundane: NIE is engaged in overhead line maintenance.

The current scheme is part of an ongoing programme of works that is rolled out each summer.

But why paint the pylons yellow? Alister Fenton, NIE transmission planning engineer, explained: “Painting the pylons yellow on the first coat, simply makes sure we don’t miss a bit on the second coat.”

A top coat of the more familiar grey paint will finish the job and protect the pylons at Straid for another few years.

Alister said: “Just like the Forth Road Bridge, we paint the metal work on our towers or pylons to keep them in good condition and extend their lifespan. Every year we paint approximately 175 towers. We have around 3,500 towers or pylons across Northern Ireland, so it is a continual cycle.”

Safety comes first, of course.

“In some cases, we paint the middle section of the pylon first,” Alister told us. “We can only paint the horizontal arms which carry the wires when we de-energise the lines. This means we divert the electricity elsewhere for a short period of time so that our painters can work safely.”