The use of drones has been implemented by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to support and increase its operational efficiency across the country. The development comes after the power distribution company successfully trained its engineers at its training school in Tema on how drones work.
At the closing ceremony of the first Tema training workshop on 22 October 2020, ECG Managing Director Kwame Agyeman-Budu clarified that the deployment of drone machines was intended to curb the intrusion of vegetation in the network and to locate 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.
As outlined by Managing Director Kwame Agyeman-Budu, other ways the company can benefit from this initiative include regular technical inspections of the power network to identify faults, right of way inspections of overhead lines to identify vegetation invasions, thermal inspections of the network to identify hot spots, verification of work carried out by bush clearing and tree cutting contractors, As well as trouble-shooting defective parts of the network to find faults on overhead lines for isolation.
Agyeman-Budu adds artificial intelligence, like drones, because of their ability to provide access to challenging positions on power lines for the purpose of performing inspections without shutting down the lines and causing outages, are increasingly becoming critical resources in the operations of transmission and distribution utilities.
It further claimed that the use of drones would significantly reduce the risk of injury to their technical workers and reduce the cost of performing inspections using aerial thermal cameras, as well as decrease the timeline for performing power system inspections; “activities that could take days could be carried out by drones within minutes“
He noted that the ECG was confident that the introduction of the drone system in its operations would increase performance, customer power supply reliability and modernize its operations and position the company to become a leading provider of utility services.