At PEC, we’re in the business of keeping the lights on and are always looking for a better way to do it. In 2016, PEC started using an unmanned aerial system (UAS) to inspect our transmission and distribution lines. Since then, we’ve been able to complete line inspections up to 23 times more quickly and efficiently than we could manually, identifying potential issues before they become problems without sending crews or trucks onto your property.
Operated by five licensed pilots, our UAS is registered with the Federal Aviation Administration and follows best practices outlined by the Department of Defense and Department of Energy, as well as Texas regulations governing the use of unmanned aircraft. If an inspection is planned in your area, we will call you in advance so you know what to expect.
Benefits of the program
Storm relief assistance
When our crews went to Florida and south Texas to help our fellow cooperatives restore power after hurricanes Irma and Harvey, our unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and pilots came along to assist. By granting crews visibility of problem spots along flooded and impassable roadways, our UAS helped crews restore power up to 80 percent more quickly than anticipated (in the case of Talquin Electric Cooperative, members got power back after just 2.5 days instead of the predicted 10–12 days).
Prevention of vegetation-related outages and fire hazards
Our UAS allows us to quickly and efficiently fly remote stretches of transmission and distribution line, identifying overgrowth and allowing our Vegetation Maintenance team to safely address issues.
Less outage time
Repairs made as a result of our UAS pilot program have made measurable improvements to our outage time and frequency, and more are on the way.