San Antonio Utility is Latest to Create Drone Fleet for Inspections

Add a San Antonio utility to the growing list of firms resorting to drones for power line inspections.

CPS Energy, a city-owned utility company announced this week it will move ahead with the drone program after carrying out a pilot program a year ago.

The pilot program used the drones in a series of successful test flights to inspect transmission towers and high-voltage lines. The company said under the pilot program, inspection work that would  have taken nearly two weeks to complete using conventional methods took two and a half days.

“We are integrating new technologies to expand our capabilities and operate more efficiently,” CPS Energy Chief Operating Officer Cris Eugster said in a statement. “Performing inspections with the use of drones helps maintain the safety of our employees and leads to faster inspections of our overhead infrastructure. This proactive effort helps us identify potential issues and mitigate future power outages.”

The drones will be used for routine inspections as well as those for equipment damaged by severe weather or approaching the end of its end of life.

CPS Energy has only two drones in its current fleet and the drone pilots have to follow Federal Aviation Administration guidelines. The company also has pledged to notify homeowners and business owners when inspections by drones are carried out.


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