Utility Company Gets FAA Aprroval for Its Drones

A utility company has been granted approval by the FAA for the use of its drones, seen as a step forward by the overly cautious agency.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) limited permission to use drones in parts of San Diego County.  SDG&E is a Sempra Energy utility, and is the first utility in the nation to be granted FAA approval for the technology. The FAA granted the company an experimental certificate, also known as a Special Airworthiness Certificate for a small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). -Read more at:

The drone weighs about less than one pound, and it’s about 16 inches in diameter, with four propellers that allow it to move straight up, forward and backwards. It can get to the tops of power lines in a matter of seconds. Not only is it quicker, it’s better for the environment and much cheaper. Two drones and the camera gear cost $6,000 total. Compare that to when SDG&E sends helicopters to inspect their lines, it costs them about $2,000 an hour to lease. -Read more:

“The unmanned aircraft system provides us with another tool in our electric and gas operations tool chest. … By using these devices, we hope to enhance the reliability of the energy network and promote public safety for the benefit of the entire region,” said a spokesperson in the company’s press release. – Read more here:


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