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MLGW News Release
MLGW launches pilot to inspect electrical infrastructure with drones
March 10, 2023

MLGW is partnering with an experienced drone operator, PrecisionHawk, to inspect electrical utility equipment. PrecisionHawk will fly drones to inspect infrastructure in the Orange Mound and Sherwood Forest neighborhoods.

The month-long program starts Monday, March 13, and is part of an initiative to improve reliability in neighborhoods with older infrastructure. Customers in Orange Mound and Sherwood Forest experience the most interruptions and endure the longest outages of any customers in Shelby County. This project is a part of MLGW's Five-Year Service Improvement Plan.

A second contractor will use satellite imagery and computer analysis to help identify hazardous trees and improve our vegetation management in this area.

Drones, which utility companies around the nation have used, are small remote-control devices that can be operated to produce images of transformers, poles, and other equipment. “The use of drones holds real promise for improving the efficiency of assessing electrical infrastructure. If this trial phase is successful, we may adopt them as part of our regular inspection and repair process,” said MLGW President and CEO Doug McGowen. The images will help identify future upgrades needed to improve reliability and reduce the number of minutes customers are without power. View a short video on how drones work for utility companies.

All workers will have IDs and vehicles marked with MLGW or PrecisionHawk logos.


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