Drones to replace helicopters for annual powerline safety inspections

In a groundbreaking move, Endeavour Energy is set to replace helicopters with drones for its annual powerline safety inspections. This shift is driven by the quest for greater efficiency, speed, and precision, with an eye on the concerning 2024/25 bushfire season.

As part of its Bushfire readiness program, Endeavour Energy traditionally inspects over 13,000 kilometres of powerlines in bushfire-prone areas every year, making necessary maintenance and tree pruning adjustments before the bushfire season begins. However, this year's approach will be different, harnessing the capabilities of autonomously flying drones.

“Previously, helicopters were the go-to choice for these inspections, but they posed challenges due to noise levels and their potential impact on customers, particularly those with livestock,” said Steve Lette, Endeavour Energy, Head of Digital and Insights.

“The introduction of drones equipped with high-resolution cameras and advanced sensors aims to mitigate these issues. Drones operate at lower noise levels, follow pre-programmed flight paths, and are designed to fly directly above powerlines, minimising the need to traverse residential areas or farmland.

“The upcoming bushfire season is especially concerning because the current summer’s rains and high temperatures have supercharged forest undergrowth.”

“These innovative drones boast autonomous flying capabilities, enabling them to navigate pre-programmed routes while avoiding obstacles under the vigilant monitoring and control of a licensed drone operator. They capture precise images of electrical assets, even in hard-to-reach locations. This transition aligns with Endeavour Energy's commitment to evolving and improving network management to ensure customer safety, reliable electricity supply, and affordability.

Endeavour Energy understands the importance of communication with its customers. To keep residents informed, customers will receive SMS notifications in advance of a drone inspection near their property. If you have any questions or want more details about the program, you can contact Endeavour Energy at 131 003 or visit www.endeavourenergy.com.au/psbi.

This shift to drones for powerline inspections marks a significant step forward for Endeavour Energy. It not only enhances efficiency and accuracy but also demonstrates their dedication to keeping communities safe. With the 2024/25 bushfire season on the horizon, this change is timely and vital.

Media contact Rebecca Hill (0409) 266 248 Rebecca.Hill@endeavourenergy.com.au

About Endeavour Energy

Endeavour Energy is a trusted supplier of safe, reliable and affordable power to over 2.7 million people living and working within Sydney’s fastest growing economies. As the most efficient electricity distribution business in NSW, Endeavour Energy is focused on powering the South Coast of NSW, the Illawarra, the Blue Mountains, the Southern Highlands, and Sydney’s Greater West,

Since 1890, we have expanded our footprint to be at the forefront of Australia’s energy industry in integrating traditional and renewable energy sources. Our mission is to leverage the latest technology and data to plan the grid of tomorrow where batteries, microgrids and solar integrate seamlessly with the traditional distribution network to power communities for a brighter future.

Published on Feb 15th 2024