More Drones, Fewer Choppers for Eversource’s Aerial Inspections of Power Lines

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Fewer helicopters will be looming over Darien and other towns across the state as Eversource replaces much of their aerial inspections of power lines with inspections by drones, the electric utility says.

Here’s the Friday, Aug. 31 news release from Eversource:

Leveraging innovative technologies, Eversource is now using drones to more efficiently inspect electric lines throughout Connecticut. The aerial devices provide the energy company with a close look at high-voltage energy infrastructure, including those spanning remote, hard-to-reach areas.

“Drone technology offers a safe, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way to perform required inspections of electrical lines, structures and equipment,” said Eversource President of Regional Electric Operations Craig Hallstrom.

The use of drones is limited to inspections of Eversource equipment by certified operators, without compromising the privacy of nearby property owners.

Drone inspections of power lines Eversource 2018

Photo from Eversource

An Eversource employee operates a drone inspecting a power line from the air.

Using drones will decrease the need for periodic inspections by low-flying helicopters, reducing the use of fossil fuels and lowering the costs associated with annual inspections which are paid for by customers. Drone inspections will also reduce the need for vehicle access to inspect equipment in environmentally sensitive areas.

In addition to its routine annual inspections, Eversource plans to also use drones to assess damage to the electric system in the wake of major storms. During an emergency, the company can launch a camera-equipped drone to collect accurate and timely power line damage information and immediately transfer data to restoration planners.

Armed with detailed assessments, system operators can more accurately dispatch crews, establish repair priorities and communicate more precise restoration information to customers.

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