The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has introduced the use of drones to assist and enhance its operational efficiency across the country.
The development comes after the power distribution company successfully trained its engineers on how the drones operate at its training school in Tema.
At the closing ceremony of the first training workshop in Tema on October 22, 2020, Managing Director of ECG, Kwame Agyeman-Budu explained the deployment of the drone machines was meant to curb the vegetation interference in the network, as well as identify weak spots on the networks for prompt rectification.
“The wingtra Drones, supplied and serviced by Sahara Natural Resources, can last 1 hour in flight and travel as far as 8km whilst still in contact with the control tablet, which records information and videos for later reference,” Agyeman-Budu explained.
Other ways the company will benefit from this initiative as outlined by Managing Director, Kwame Agyeman-Budu, 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 faulted portions of the network to locate faults for isolation on overhead lines.
Agyeman-Budu adds 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 timeframe of carrying out inspections in the power system; “activities which could take days could be done within minutes by the drones”
He noted the ECG is optimistic that the inclusion of the drone system in their operations will improve efficiency, reliability of power supply to customers, and modernize their operations and position the company to become a leading utility service provider.
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