26 September 2023

Energex drives drones to find network faults

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Energex has announced it has acquired a new, highly-advanced drone fleet that will allow crews to locate network damage undetectable with the naked eye through thermal imaging cameras.

Technology Manager at the utility, Rob Ibbs said the latest drone fleet was helping it prepare the power network for summer and would help crews undertake tasks much safer and quicker than ever.

“For a number of years we’ve been using drones to investigate damage in hard-to- reach sections of the power network after storms, and helping to string powerlines between power poles,” Mr Ibbs said.

“Now our specially equipped drones are installing ‘rota-markers’ along flood-prone waterways to make powerlines more visible for emergency service workers such as the State Emergency Service volunteers who use the waterways to ferry stranded people to safety.”

He said Energex would also be trialling drones equipped with state-of-the-art thermal imaging cameras that provide crews with images showing damage to sections of the power network that had traditionally been difficult to detect from the ground or through normal eyesight.

“Together these new drones are helping us prepare for the upcoming severe weather in a way we’ve never been able to before and allowing us to do it much faster and safer than ever,” Mr Ibbs said.

He said while the drone fleet was now an integral part of preparing for summer, the utility was undertaking all its traditional pre-storm-season activities to ensure the network was as resilient as possible.

“Over the cooler months our crews have been extremely busy upgrading and maintaining the State’s power network to ensure it is in optimum condition for when the severe weather season commences,” Mr Ibbs said.

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