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Counties Power uses drone technology

The drone is currently working through the network area surveying 57 switches. The switches, which control power flow, are located at the top of power poles.

Counties Power GM Field Operations Dale Carline says the consumer-owned lines company sees the many benefits from using drone technology.

“This is a great example of technology working to improve safety, cost effectiveness and efficiency. The drone imagery gives us an enhanced look at our network from a much closer distance so we can detect any immediate damage or safety issues. It will also allow us to improve our maintenance scheduling, ultimately improving network safety and reliability.”

“This is our first use of this new technology however it’s something we could use to conduct a comprehensive asset surveying programme across large sections of our network equipment, with obvious advantages in inaccessible and unsafe environments.”

The drones are operated on a minimum approach distance and can get as close as two metres to any network asset. The surveys have previously been completed by a person visually surveying the equipment from the ground.

Drones are controlled under strict protocols by the specialised company contracted – Infrastructure Asset Management Systems Limited (IAMSL). All property owners are contacted prior to the survey and must give their permission for the drone to access the property.

The first surveys have begun in Port Waikato and will move throughout the Counties Power network area that runs from coast to coast between southern Papakura and Mercer. The survey of the switches should be completed by mid-October.

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