Aerial Scanning To Improve Reliability For Delaware Electric Cooperative Members


GREENWOOD, Del.- Aerial Inspections of Delaware Electric Cooperative’s power lines are expected to improve reliability for Cooperative members. On May 4th and 5th, McKim & Creed, based in North Carolina, used a helicopter to scan 40 miles of transmission lines in Sussex County using LIDAR technology. LIDAR uses light from a laser to capture detailed images of transmission lines and the surrounding terrain, allowing engineers to see exactly where trees may be in danger of falling on lines and if electrical equipment needs to be replaced.

Scanning took place near Angola, between Laurel and Seaford, Five Points, the Retreat at Love Creek and Ocean View. This is the first time Delaware Electric Cooperative has used LIDAR technology and a helicopter to improve the system. According to Co-op Engineering Manager Troy Dickerson, “The technology being used isn’t new, but this is the first time the Co-op has been able to utilize the scanning equipment. Maintaining thousands of miles of power lines is a tough job and this is going to make our job easier. This is good for members and good for DEC.”

Results from the aerial imaging are expected in June—Co-op employees will then fix any problems that are found on the system. Dickerson said the project cost around $200,000, an important investment for the Co-op he said will result in fewer outages, saving Co-op members money by avoiding future repairs.

Starting on May 11th, contract crews from PowerServices, an engineering firm which specializes in electric utility infrastructure and operations will also begin a ground inspection of transmission lines, which may take several weeks to complete. Workers will be looking for equipment that needs to be replaced, and will also use the latest software to analyze the LIDAR data to make recommendations to DEC. Co-op officials said using a combination of aerial and ground inspections is a more cost-effective and efficient way to gauge the health of the electrical system.

Delaware Electric Cooperative is a member-owned electric utility serving 90,000 member-owners in Kent and Sussex County, Delaware. For more information, visit us on the web at or or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.