Remote Sensing Analysis Helps Utility Improve VM Strategy

SOUTHEAST U.S. BASED UTILITY

Leveraging DRG technology enables a Southeast U.S. based utility to more efficiently strategize vegetation management work.

The Challenge

Our client is one of the largest electric utilities in the U.S., serving an estimated 10 million people across nearly half the state of Florida.

Even at that size, the utility’s service reliability is better than 99.98 percent. As part of its reliability strategy, the utility wanted to find a more efficient way to proactively identify overgrown or highly dense vegetation locations along its distribution lines. This could aid the company in determining possible pre-planning work requirements and accessibility challenges, as well as forecasting budgets and organizing equipment, resources and staffing requirements.

The Solution

Because of the vast amount of property the utility must maintain, manual field inspections are not always the most efficient solution.

Davey Resource Group (DRG) was able to provide the utility with a more innovative and time-saving solution to remotely acquire and spatially visualize vegetation density along their entire distribution system.

DRG used remote sensing analysis and current high-resolution imagery to complete an automated feature extraction process to generate a vegetation density segment layer in their technology that the utility could use to generate more accurate results while planning. Working with the utility’s ground truthing team, DRG used this data to finetune training samples for an automated feature extraction process. This additional spatial analysis provided a more detailed classification of vegetation management locations and needs along the distribution lines to determine bucket truck accessibility to each feeder and lateral line.

The Results

This final vegetation density layer enables the utility to more efficiently strategize, schedule and prioritize vegetation management trimming cycles, as well as predict equipment and field personnel needs, safety protocols and the most efficient service routes, to ensure its lines are clear and its customers are satisfied.

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