The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has introduced the use of drones as part of the company’s operations, to provide effective monitoring and auditing of the company’s networks.
According to the Managing Director, Kwame Agyeman-Budu, this initiative forms part of ECG’s efforts to ensure efficiency in its operations.
The company, launched the 15 drones after a successful training of engineers on how the drones operate at the company’s training school in Tema in the Greater Accra Region.
He said, the deployment of the 15 drone machines in the company’s operations has become necessary for the effective monitoring and auditing of the company’s network to curb the major challenge of vegetation interference in the network, as well as identify weak spots on the network for prompt rectification.
Touching on the rest of the benefits, he outlined other ways the company would benefit from this initiative which include routine technical inspections in the power network to identify defects, right of way inspections of overhead lines to identify vegetation encroachment, thermal inspections of the network to identify hot spots, verification of work done by bush clearing and tree cutting contractors, route mapping for construction of new lines, as well as trouble-shooting of faulty portions of the network to locate faults for isolation on overhead lines.
He also said, the drones would provide access to difficult locations on power lines for purposes of carrying out inspections without shutting down the lines and creating outages.
He then revealed that, on the average, each region will be given two drones to assist in the operational duties.
The Wingtra Drones, supplied and serviced by Sahara Natural Resources, can last one hour in flight and travel 8km while still in contact with the control tablet, which records information and videos for later reference.
According to Kwame Agyeman-Budu, artificial intelligence including drones are rapidly becoming vital tools in the operations of transmission and distribution utilities because of their ability to provide access to difficult locations on power lines for purposes of carrying out inspections without shutting down the lines and creating outages.
He further indicated that the use of the drones would drastically reduce the risk of injury to their technical staff and lower the cost of carrying out inspections by using aerial thermal cameras, as well as reduce the time frame of carrying out inspections in the power system.
“Activities which could take days to be done within minutes by the drones.”
Mr Agyemang-Budu said his outfit is optimistic that the inclusion of the drone system in their operations would improve efficiency, reliability of power supply to customers, and modernise their operations and position the company to become a leading utility service provider.