© 2021 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Energy and Environment
Support for KMUW's energy and environment coverage comes from ITC Great Plains and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Westar Energy: Drone Usage Increases Safety, Saves Money

Drone.jpg
AgriLife Today, flickr Creative Commons
/

As a result of changing regulations surrounding the drone industry, Westar Energy has expanded its use of the technology and is using drones commercially. 

In August of last year, the rules surrounding drone usage became less strict, allowing non-pilots to fly unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes, if they earn a certificate.

For Westar Energy, the largest electric utility provider in Kansas, that means the company can use drones to help make maps, inspect equipment and collect data.

Jason Klenklen, the supervisor of transmission maintenance at Westar, says because the company isn't sending workers out to do those things, they're saving money. 

It's also a lot safer, he says.

"You know, we're not having to put folks up in bucket trucks to get up on lines and near stuff that may be energized to see what problems are going on," Klenklen says. "We can find these ahead of time and mitigate that and hopefully prevent that."

He says the new technology isn't likely to replace current workers all together, it's just an "additional tool in the toolbox to facilitate what the company is already doing."

--

Follow Abigail Beckman on Twitter @AbigailKMUW.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.