PG&E Harnesses Drones to Expedite Power Restoration in Santa Cruz Mountains

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Over the weekend, PG&E utilized innovative drone technology to restore power to homes in the Santa Cruz mountains affected by severe storms. The inclement weather had caused extensive damage, with fallen trees and washed-out bridges hindering the efforts of traditional crews to reach remote areas.

Facing these challenges, PG&E turned to drones for a more efficient solution. The utility’s crews deployed a drone to pull new power lines through areas inaccessible by trucks due to heavy snow, fallen trees, and saturated soil. Drone operators skillfully navigated the challenging terrain, reconnecting power lines and bringing lights back to dozens of homes.

PG&E highlighted the safety and cost-effectiveness of using drones for power restoration. Unlike helicopters, which can be grounded during storms, drones often remain operational, providing a reliable tool for swift responses. This approach not only ensures the safety of crews but also contributes to cost savings.

According to PG&E, the adoption of drones began last spring, proving effective in various scenarios, including snow-related outages in Sonoma County and strengthening transmission lines in Vallejo. The utility plans to continue leveraging drones during upcoming storms to enhance response times to potential power outages in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Residents, such as Eric Horton in the Santa Cruz mountains, appreciate the utility’s efforts to expedite power restoration. Acknowledging the challenges faced during prolonged outages, Horton welcomes any technology that speeds up the process, emphasizing the importance of improving response times.

As PG&E embraces drone technology, it not only addresses operational challenges but also aims to minimize risks for its crews. The utility remains committed to utilizing innovative solutions to enhance its response capabilities during adverse weather conditions.

Watch the full video from NBC News below.

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