This post originally appeared on http://www.wmur.com/news/eversource-tests-drones-to-inspect-power-lines/41106460.
[Editor’s Note: Drones help with locating smaller items, such as hardware that’s rusting or an insulator that’s broken.]
Eversource crews are testing out the use of drones to inspect power lines.
“We are able to get into environments like a helicopter may not be able to get into,” said Franz Loew of JBI Helicopter Services.
Eversource officials said drones could help repairs go more quickly.
“You can see things a lot clearer,” said Carol Burke of Eversource. “You don’t have to worry about hovering with a helicopter. which is disruptive to some of the land owners.”
Eversource said it will still use helicopters for inspections, but the company hopes the drones will complement that work.
“With the UAV, we can actually get up close and find any infrastructure that might be a lot smaller,” Burke said. “An insulator that’s broken, hardware that’s rusting, smaller items that would need to be replaced.”
JBI, which flies the helicopters and drones, said that the devices have been used to inspect bridges, wind turbines and solar powers. Two crew members are required to operate them, one to fly and the other to control the camera.
Eversource officials said its sister companies in Connecticut and Massachusetts have already had success with using drones and are excited about the possibilities.