Providing power to more than 70,000 customers in Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma, Ozarks Electric Cooperative understands the need for consistent, reliable service.
To improve the efficiency and safety of its routine and crisis-response power line inspections, the nonprofit power company chose the Honeywell UAV Inspection Service. Commercial-grade unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) enable Ozarks Electric to inspect more than 100 miles of power lines—which can take up to two weeks using traditional methods—in just four days.
Once the UAVs complete their missions, Ozarks Electric’s field technicians can view and annotate the imagery on a customized Web portal, email it to a predetermined list of recipients, and export it as a .zip file to review or distribute later. All problems identified by the UAV inspection can be categorized, prioritized, and monitored using the online interface.
“Working with Honeywell makes our job a whole lot easier and safer,” says Cody Slaughter, First Class Lineman at Ozarks Electric. “We don’t have to put guys up in a helicopter flying rough terrain and we can collect a lot more data using the drone.”
Chris Holloway, Quality Reliability and Processes Supervisor, says that people throughout the power company are “starting to understand that the drone is a valuable tool to make us more efficient and agile, through the application of RF frequency inspections, thermal-imaging inspections, LIDAR, and other technologies.”
The inspection service has already helped Ozarks Electric refine its job planning and parts ordering processes. And, by repeating the same inspections two or three times a year, the power company will be able to better identify long-term maintenance issues, improve product quality, and get closer to completely uninterrupted service.
“ We’re learning what drones can do every day. The Honeywell people are really smart, and it’s fun to challenge them with new ideas and have them come back to us and say they can do it. We look forward to a long future with the Honeywell UAV program.” -Clinton Foster, Right-of-Way Coordinator, Ozarks Electric Cooperative.