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iPad app helps energy company prevent power outages

Lauren Brousell | Oct. 30, 2014
LG&E and KU Energy uses helicopters to get a birds-eye view of damages and potential problems that could bring down power. The challenge came when the pilots tried to document and relay the info inflight.

After making their rounds, patrollers upload the information to the database with one click. Syncing the data automatically generates the necessary work orders. Ferch says recording information from the flights is now a more accurate and streamlined process. "It doesn't have to be transcribed from notes that you can't read when you get back down to the ground," Ferch says. The company expects the one-click upload to reduce data input time by 95 percent each year. The application will also help reduce flight time by 10 percent each year because patrollers can view utility structure numbers on the screen instead of having to count them during the trip.

Torchia says using the iPad application also results in the trickle-down benefits of quicker identification of problems, lower maintenance costs and less manpower. Overall, he says, "If you can reduce flight time, you're reducing the charges that the utility has to pay to do inspections in the first place."

LG&E and KU Energy says it's in the process of applying for a patent for the application and hopes to sell it to other utility companies in the future.


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