Power to Istanbul: A dangerous job above the Bosporus
ISTANBULDec 05, 2019 - 5:27 pm GMT+3
Dec 05, 2019 5:27 pm
The maintenance of the power grid on the ground is already a risky job, and one false move can lead to injuries. However, for maintenance staff working 280 meters above Istanbul’s Bosporus, it is outright dangerous. Workers from the Turkish Electricity Transmission Company (TEİAŞ) defy death for the routine maintenance of live cables supplying 400,000 volts of electricity over the city’s famed waterway. Since August, they have been busy with the reparation of the cables straddling the Bosporus, and they have to do it without turning off the power for Turkey’s most populated city. A helicopter takes them every day to the main transmission line near Zekeriyaköy district that supplies electricity to the city’s European side. A well-trained crew of 15 technicians descends from the helicopter to a platform weighing 450 kilograms every day. Only two technicians can work at the same time on the platform, which remains attached to the helicopter during the maintenance work. The helicopter crew also has the difficult task of keeping the platform steady during the work, defying rough winds over the Bosporus. The line is among eight supplying electricity to Istanbul, which consumes about 25% of Turkey’s total electricity production.
Atilla Kaya, TEİAŞ director for the fourth region covering Istanbul’s Asian side, says they currently work on two out of four primary lines connecting the two sides of the city. “We have to do it on live cables. Our crews are truly devoted to their job. They labor to keep the city energized. Their work is important because electricity is as vital as blood and veins are to the human body,” he says. Nusret Koman, director of TEİAŞ's first region that covers the European side, says 10 crewmembers work “up in the air” and five others work on the ground for maintenance. “They underwent training in Europe for the job and have all the safety measures in place that enable them to touch live cables. Our live maintenance crews work around the clock to keep the energy supply intact,” he says.