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Utilities to Use Drones to Inspect Power Lines

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  • Published: August 22, 2015

    While the words “smart grid” seem to be a common phrase among utilities employing 21st century technology to their delivery systems, energy industry professionals may soon be referring to drones in the same capacity. Utility companies have been lining up to receive Section 333 approval for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Utilities can employ these drones to inspect remote transmission lines, transmit aerial views of their generation facilities, and examine damage after weather-related events, avoiding the need to put human inspector lives in danger.

    San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is just one of many utilities who have received Section 333 approval. SDG&E’s VP of Electric Distribution Operations stated, “the new UAS technology will enable us to improve response times to emergency situations, inspect our electric and gas facilities in remote areas that are otherwise difficult to access, reduce the use of manned helicopters, enhance overall employee and public safety, and locate the cause of power outages faster.”

    For a full listing of all entities whom have been granted Section 333 Exemption, visit:

    Written by: Absolute Consulting
    Source: San Diego Gas & Electric


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