N.H. Utility Employs UAV for Infrastructure Inspection

Posted by Betsy Lillian on August 19, 2016 No Comments
Categories : Content, Utilities

Power provider Eversource has completed upgrades to electric lines in Nashua, N.H., after using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to identify the infrastructure in need of repairs.

“Over 500,000 customers in New Hampshire depend on us for reliable electric service to power their day-to-day lives. Annual helicopter inspections of our transmission lines are a crucial and effective part of our commitment to reducing the frequency and duration of power outages,” says Joe Purington, vice president of electric operations at Eversource. “Conducting inspections using drones holds great promise as a less intrusive, more detailed inspection than is achieved using a helicopter.”

The utility recently teamed up with JBI Helicopter Services to perform a drone aerial patrol on distribution circuits in Nashua in the area of Bridge Street Substation. The company says it received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and notified Nashua officials beforehand.

“We conduct extensive inspections of our distribution and transmission lines throughout the state on a semi-annual basis to identify ways we can enhance reliability for our customers and identify infrastructure in need of upgrades,” Purington adds. “While conducting the first UAV inspection of our lines in Nashua, we determined there were parts of the system in need of structural enhancements, and we immediately got to work to complete those improvements.”

The company notes it strengthened three utility structures, replacing wood arms that hold up electrical wires with steel arms and replacing existing insulators with more durable equipment.

According to Eversource, as a result of data collected during the recent UAV inspection, additional improvements to strengthen transmission structures within the same utility right-of-way are also being planned.

Photos courtesy of Eversource.

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