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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why should I consider ECI for my vegetation management program needs?

A: ECI’s history is deeply rooted in research. Our research has led to many of the industry best practices recognized today. We clearly understand what works and what does not…and we practice what we preach. ECI provides total management for several utility vegetation programs across the nation. So you can rest assured that our program assessments and recommendations are based on tried and true methods.

First Utility Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight UAS (drone) Flight

Date Posted: Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Xcel Energy to Fly Drone Beyond Operator's Line-of-Sight


T&D World Magazine

Feb 03, 2016


Xcel Energy inspects more than 320,000 miles of electricity and natural gas infrastructure to ensure the safety and reliability of its energy system.

Xcel Energy
will be the first utility in the nation to fly a research and development mission that is beyond the operator’s line of sight when it surveys a transmission line near Amarillo, Texas, today.

Xcel Energy inspects more than 320,000 miles of electricity and natural gas infrastructure to ensure the safety and reliability of its energy system, and helicopters have been the primary means of accessing lines in rugged terrain. In 2015, Xcel Energy began a program of visually inspecting substations in Texas with unmanned aircraft, commonly known as drones, which are operated within the line of sight of the operator.

Today, the company is using contractors, Environmental Consultants Inc. & FLoT Systems, to fly an unmanned inspection using a system that allows the aircraft to fly beyond the line of sight of the operator, a first for U.S. electric utility companies.

Xcel Energy has more than 7,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines in its Texas-New Mexico service area alone. This first beyond-line-of-sight unmanned aircraft mission will be flown in an area known as the Canadian River Breaks north of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle.

“Xcel Energy is committed to embracing new technologies that allow us to work safer, more efficiently and at lower costs than before, and the unmanned aircraft systems are a great example of boosting our productivity through technology,” said Teresa Mogensen, Xcel Energy’s senior vice president for transmission. “Employees will also use drones to observe environmentally sensitive areas without the use of trucks, helicopters or other utility equipment, minimizing the environmental impact,” she added.                                                                                                       

International Society of ArboricultureEdison Electric InstituteNational Rural Electric Cooperative AssociationUtility Arborist Association

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