Remote Asset Inspections

Leading innovation in energy: drone use

We pride ourselves on our innovation and focus on safety. We’re constantly exploring new technology and ways to improve our business which is why we’re now using drone technology to conduct remote asset inspections.

What are considered our assets?

Our network assets include the poles, wires, and other equipment required for the supply of energy to homes, properties, and businesses. These assets are fundamental to the reliable flow of electricity across our network.

What are asset inspections?

Asset inspections are a process we carry out to maintain our network’s safety and reliability. Good asset health is essential not only for the reliability of our network, but also for the safety of the community it supplies. Assets that are left in a poor condition can potentially cause unwanted incidents in our network. For this reason, we conduct thorough asset inspections, which determine their condition and whether further action is required. Our assets are managed as part of our cyclic pole maintenance program to ensure we inspect all of the 645,000+ poles across our network.

We classify the severity of asset damage using a priority system, so the most urgent matters are attended to as soon as possible. This system also allows us to record non-urgent asset defects for monitoring purposes. These assets may receive more frequent inspections as a result.

What are Remote Asset Inspections (RAI)?

Traditional asset inspections are completed on site by professional Asset Inspectors. They involve the use of ladders, binoculars, measurements, and visual assessments to determine the health of our assets.

In contrast, Remote Asset Inspections (RAI) do not require the Asset Inspectors to be on site while completing inspections. Instead, Asset Inspectors perform their assessments by analysing high-definition photos taken by drones.

On site, we instruct certified Drone Operators to take specific shots of our assets so that every surface can be analysed remotely by Asset Inspectors. Our detailed technical requirements for each photo ensure consistent capture of high-definition images of our poles, pole top assets and the pole environment. We have found that RAI using drone images enables us to perform thorough and more efficient inspections compared to traditional on site inspections.

Why drones?

We pride ourselves on our innovation and focus on safety. We are constantly exploring new technology and ways to improve our business. Drone technology has come a long way since its establishment with many now including features such as vision systems to avoid collision, intelligent flight modes, and auto return to home. By using state-of-the-art drone technology, we can complete asset inspections faster, resulting in quicker reporting and response to potential risks in our network. This allows us to keep our network safer for our staff, contractors, and the community.

With safety in mind, we ensure that all approved drone activity is executed by trained professionals, who are certified by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). All Drone Operators who work with us adhere to the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 under the Civil Aviation Act 1988. Our Drone Operators are instructed to photograph our assets only, and where required will ask for permission to enter private property to access our assets.

All drone activity is carried out to improve the safety of our network and community.

A monitor shows footage from a drone inspecting a power pole.