SSVEC Rolls Out Drone Program in Benson, Arizona
Drones are integrated into a lot of industries in today's high-tech world. They are used in careers from real estate to law enforcement. SSVEC is adding this tech to help prevent power outages and fix them when they occur. Here is their press release.
Embracing the latest technology to improve reliability and control costs, Sulphur Springs Valley ElectricCooperaive (SSVEC) will conduct its first test of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle– a drone–(on May 16th) in the Benson area.
FirmaTek, a technology company based in San Antonio, Texas, is the contracted vendor for SSVEC’s proof-of-concept drone project. The company has provided enterprise solutions to a variety of industries, including mining, solid waste, and electric utilities, for the past 30 years.
Tuesday’s demonstration will be conducted near the SSVEC construction and maintenance facility located on cooperative Wayin Benson, on the city’s south side.
“It’s important for people to know that Firmatek operators are fully trained in the operation of this device, and they will be abiding by all federal regulations that govern UAVs,” Nathan Hodges, vice president of Operations, said. “Our intention is to use this tool to improve our service and benefit our members.
”Additionally, the local electric utility has already trained and certified two of its employees to operate drones and is in the process of purchasing its own.
“This tool will allow us to anticipate a failure and respond proactively to prevent an outage,” said Hodges. Two SSVEC employees have earned certifications as “remote pilots” from the Federal Aviation Authority(FAA) and will be responsible for its operation, said Manny Gonzales, Vice President of TechnicalServicesat the Cooperative.
“We sent them for training to a facility in Florida, where they acquired a lot more than certification. They also received other training on piloting this aircraft and made networking connections that will prove valuable,” Gonzales said.
Once SSVEC receives its own drones, it plans to train more employees on how to fly them. Hodges said drones SSVEC plans to purchase will be American-made.
“We believe these tools will not only allow proactive inspections but also aid in outage restoration, especially after a major storm,” Hodges said. “SSVEC continually evaluates new technologies and utilizes what will bring the most benefit for our employees and our membership.”