Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company (OG&E) today announced it has begun a pilot program that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help reduce outages caused by equipment failures. As part of its grid enhancement program, OG&E will use AI-powered image recognition technology to help engineers with distribution pole inspections. OG&E says that AI technology will mean better accuracy all around.
The solution is designed to analyze photographic images of distribution poles to identify defects, catalog asset inventory and identify risk issues that need to be addressed to better maintain reliability. AI means it works faster and increases the efficiency of the project.
The program will initially focus on woodpecker damage as a specific use case. Woodpeckers can and do cause considerable damage to wooden distribution/power poles in a short period of time and this technology allows OG&E to better respond to deterioration and utilize a consistent approach for repairs and replacements.
“We have been excited about eSmart since hearing about them through our partnership with Energy Impact Partners (EIP). Utilizing cutting-edge technology in the form of AI to inspect our distribution poles makes our electric grid smarter, improves our business processes and helps to keep the lights on for our customers,” said Zac Gladhill, Director of Grid Integration and Innovation for OG&E.
“We anticipate this technology will reduce the amount of time our engineers spend sifting through photographs of poles and “triaging” potential damage. We currently anticipate applying the technology to identify additional uses in our transmission and distribution network if the pilot meets performance objectives.”
OG&E’s Grid Enhancement Plan is designed to provide present and future benefits to its customers and stakeholders by focusing on the needed replacement and upgrade of equipment, while also including the installation of new technology and communications systems, according to the utility. The pilot program with eSmart Systems and TRC has the potential to advance the technology used by OG&E in the future and transform the way damage is assessed for years to come, said OGE.