New Delhi: Power distribution company TPDDL is planning to employ drones for faster maintenance of its distribution network to offer “better and accurate” service resolutions to its seven million consumers in the national capital.
The distribution company used nano drones in two pilot projects at Ashok Vihar and Ranibagh in April-May this year to study the viability of drone application for surveillance of grids, sub-transmission lines network and grid equipment.
The company used nano drones with flying capacity below 200 feet with permission from police and local authorities, said a Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) official.
“With the pilot project we are exploring and developing applicability of drone technology in the power distribution sector. Usage of drones for maintenance will not only help us reduce the downtime, but will also give better insights for future projects,” said TPDDL chief executive officer Sanjay Banga.
The project will have wide application in the years to come and will help TPDDL serve its consumers better, Banga said.
“The reliance on drones will provide faster, better and more accurate service resolution as well as enhance safety of personnel deployed for such daunting tasks,” said the discom official.
Usage of drones helps in close up, detailed imagery of the installations scanning potential defects for the maintenance personnel. Drones can also capture tower and pole images from various angles giving a fuller picture, which is often not possible with other inspection methods, he said.
The process will enhance the capturing of more credible data which can in turn help in making better decisions while minimising the downtime during maintenance and any contingencies, he said.
The pilot projects covered monitoring of conductor sag, vegetation management, pole top inspection, solar panel inspection, infrared inspection for hot spots, monitoring of circuit, identification of abnormalities such as bird nests, bee hives or defects with equipment, the official said.
It also attempted right of way management to determine if anyone is encroaching on lines along with thermal inspection at grids.
TPDDL has around 70 lakh consumers in north and northwest Delhi areas.