How Citipower & Powercor inspected their power pole assets 4 X faster with Birdi

Written by
Sebastian Robertson
October 10, 2022

Challenge

Citipower & Powercor are an Australian power company based in Melbourne. Their network of poles, wires and infrastructure distribute power to electricity meters and in doing so, supply energy to 1.2 million Victorian homes and businesses.

Efficient and accurate inspections of their power poles is vital for identifying wear, damage and faults, triggering maintenance workflows and reducing potential downtime of their asset network. 

Citipower & Powercor were completing their asset inspections on foot, with inspectors manually visiting every power pole and, where possible, taking photographs from the ground using DSLR cameras and/or smart phones and tablets. However, this approach was time consuming and lacked top-down and aerial visibility of the poles. What’s more, their imagery was spread across different systems and teams, which meant maintenance workflows were clunky and data was easily lost or difficult to find.

Citipower & Powercor came to Birdi for a streamlined solution for their power pole inspection and maintenance process, and to ensure their geospatial data was managed in a centralized system for compliance and tracking purposes.

Solution

With Birdi, Citipower & Powercor were able to:

  • Inspect their power pole assets 4 times faster
  • Identify 15% more defects; and
  • Improve their underlying asset records for compliance and reporting purposes

Birdi’s solution helped Citipower & Powercor in the following ways:

  • We assisted in implementing geospatial data capture of over 11,000 power poles in their asset network
  • Asset images were uploaded, managed and visualized in a single workspace for their entire team
  • Remote inspection of each asset image, with defects and issues identified, recorded and reported on, enabling maintenance workflows to be actioned

Blog Post

"Birdi has been great for us. Of the 11,000 power poles captured, we 4X increased our asset inspection rate and improved our defect identification by 15%."‍

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Luke Skinner
CitiPower, Powercor and United Energy

Geospatial data capture

Birdi utilized their Australian drone pilot network for this project. Pilots were matched for each capture region based on their experience and locality. Birdi’s pilot network completed approx 2,000 drone flight missions to capture aerial imagery of over 11,000 power poles, with approximately 80 poles captured per day across both metro and rural areas. ‍

In-platform visualization

Over 90,000 drone images were captured (with an average of 7 photos per asset) and uploaded into Citipower & Powercor’s workspace for visualization. The geo-referencing details within each image enabled them to be visualized on the map at their precise capture location, providing important contextual information for Citipower & Powercor.

Birdi in-platform visualization of power assets

Asset inspection workflow

Citipower & Powercor configured Birdi’s Asset Assessment register and criteria to match their own defect library. This provided their inspectors a high degree of familiarity even when operating in a new platform and allowed for a simpler integration of identified defects with their SAP maintenance system. 

Asset inspection workflow in Birdi

Their inspectors then conducted remote assessments of each power pole. When faults were encountered, an inspector would:

  • Mark up the defect using the polygon tool
  • Select the appropriate defect details
  • Set the issue severity level
  • Add any additional comments for actioning

Birdi asset inspection

‍Once each inspection was complete, the details were then exported into an assessment PDF report and shared with the maintenance team for review and in-field correction.

Birdi asset assessment report

‍______

With Birdi, Citipower & Powercor were able to:

  • Save time and money by transitioning from manual inspections to remote assessments
  • Inspect powerpole assets 4 times faster
  • Identify 15% more defects; and
  • Centralize their asset data for easy accessibility for compliance and reporting purposes

If you’re a power company and interested in making similar improvements in your network operations, get in touch with our team.

Sebastian Robertson
Sebastian is Birdi's CEO and Co-founder (along with his brother, Abraham). His vision and direction for Birdi keeps our team and product aligned and humming along! Before Birdi, Seb founded a number of enterprises, including youth mental health charity, batyr.

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