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Trinity Valley EC News

Drone Programs Show Promise in Key Maintenance Efforts

Reducing costs while increasing system reliability is the goal

There is only so much of the top of an electrical distribution pole that can be seen from the ground. Fortunately, technology is offering solutions to give Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative line crews, system operators and engineers a more thorough view of the equipment they work with on a daily basis.

A recent test of drone technology in the Walton area in Van Zandt and Henderson counties will show just how useful a visual inspection—along with images and thermal-sensing technology—might be in giving TVEC crews a head start on preventive maintenance.

Identifying equipment, connections or damage that may cause future outages will help target maintenance and repair work before outages occur.

When combined with advanced mapping solutions, images of each pole can be stored and retrieved during restoration efforts. Crews could then be better prepared as they prepare to respond.

A small imaging drone in use inspecting poles and power line equipment. The photos and thermal imaging can be used to find and target equipment for replacement before it fails and causes an outage.

Elaine Frosch

The advantage of this method is efficiency and safety. A small crew of drone operators can treat areas much more quickly and with less heavy equipment compared to fleets of bucket trucks, wood chippers and chainsaws.

As always we are looking for the best solutions to provide reliable service while being mindful of members’ property.