Dominion to launch drones to inspect transmission lines

This June 22, 2015 photo shows a drone lifting off at a Georgia Power training complex during power line inspection demonstration in Lithonia, Ga. Power companies across the United States are testing whether drones as small as 10 pounds can spot trouble on transmission lines or inspect equipment deep inside hard-to-reach power plant boilers. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Dominion Virginia Power is hoping New equipment will make a hard-to-reach job easier. They’re using drones made in Virginia Beach to inspect high-voltage power lines.

“It’s a great technology from our standpoint, from a reliability and safety perspective,” said Steve Eisenrauch, Dominion Manager for Electric Transmission, Forestry and Line Services.  “What we’re looking at down the road is to be able to utilize these drones typically where we have used helicopters. Maybe eventually down the road they’ll aide the linemen also. From a reliability perspective, we’re going to be getting different angles than we’ve ever gotten. We’ll get pictures and videos of the facilities that will help to see things never seen before.”

The drone manufacturers stopped by the WAVY News studio on Friday to give 10 On Your Side a look at the drones that are expected to cut costs. They say the 30-pound equipment controlled by remotes could also increase safety.

“We can prevent folks from having to climb up the tower and do the inspection,” said David Culler Jr., CEO of HAZON Solutions.  “We’re both prior F-18 pilots, both had commands of squadrons and installations. We wanted to bring that same rigor and tenant to HAZON Solutions.

“We were looking at how we wanted to integrate our skills from the NAVY into this new and exciting commercial venture,” said Sean Cushing, President of HAZON Solutions. “We found, almost immediately, that we can get almost 50 percent more information by the mere fact that we’re flying underneath the structure, next to the structure, above the structure.”

In Hebrew, Hazon means Vision, and HAZON Solutions is hoping to give Dominion views they’ve never before seen.

Dominion said they started working with the vendors last year. They’ve been doing some testing in Chester and they’ll be doing more starting next month. The company hopes to have drones in use in Virginia and North Carolina in two years.

Comments are closed.