March 17, 2023
For the first time, Omaha Public Power District is using a drone to conduct an aerial survey of transmission lines and equipment. Aerial surveys, normally conducted by helicopter, are a regular part of OPPD’s system maintenance keep reliable power flowing to our customers.
The latest survey begins March 20th and will take 10-15 days to complete, weather dependent. During this time frame, customers within the Omaha metropolitan area and South to Nebraska City may see drones hovering near power equipment.
This specific survey is part of a program done every year to inspect transmission line clearances. The drone also collects Lidar information that we can use in our planning and design.
We will be examining approximately 100 miles of the 1,344 miles of transmission line across our 13-county service territory. The information collected will not only help OPPD evaluate line clearances, but it also provides models we can use for designing infrastructure to accommodate development and load growth in the future.
Local airfields and aviation agencies are notified of precise flight paths and timelines throughout the course of this survey, currently scheduled to be completed by April 15.
For this project, OPPD is working with Valmont Utility, which has been working with electric utilities for more than 40 years. OPPD previously worked with Valmont on post-storm aerial inspections of electrical infrastructure in 2021.