Evergy shows KCC how UAS helps keep workers safe

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Evergy officials presented a study session to the Kansas Corporation Commission on how their unmanned aircraft system program is making utility work safer and more efficient.

(WIBW/Danielle Martin)

"People see it as a toy they buy their kids for Christmas," Sr., UAS Coordinator for Evergy, Mike Kelly said. "When their actually a very useful tool."

Evergy has five drones it can use to visually inspect enclosed areas that can identify problems less than a minute.

"Energized equipment is not safe to work around so we can use the drones to do the inspections and to drive the maintenance work," Kelly explained.

Kelly explains that drones are useful in inspecting power lines and other equipment during weather emergencies.

"Like the Lawrence tornado that came through in that area, we were able to use the drone to help figure out where lines were down and help give a better situational awareness."

As technology is technology, the company can take worker safety to new heights for utilities.

"We're able to use the drone to get footage of active restorations, help identify where issues were at and restore power quicker," Kelly emphasized.

The KCC commissioners were able to see the usage of a drone in action and the type of capabilities it provides for Evergy.

"We think this is part of the future," Exec. VP and Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Bryant said. "Technology is allowing us to do our business differently."

The company says it can help make a difference in lower bills.

"We're encouraging our folks to understand how technology can helping us move forward. There's a lot of technology advancing in our sector," Bryant explained. "This gives our folks a real example of how we can change our business in a way it makes to our customers."

Evergy is partnering with Kansas Department of Transportation, K-State, and others to inspect their infrastructure to prove their program can help keep workers safe.