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FirstEnergy to Deploy Drones to Survey Bird Nests on Poles

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FirstEnergy Corp (FE - Free Report) announced that it will utilize drones to survey birds’ nests on utility poles. Birds of prey habitually nest on tall structures like electric transmission towers and poles. Drones can track and identify these nests quickly. Early removal of nests will lower the possibility of power outage and provide safety to the bird.

Need for Regular Maintenance

It’s mandatory for a utility electric company to maintain its network of transmission and distribution lines to supply uninterrupted electricity to customers. Expansion of business operation requires large investment toward maintenance of electric poles, lines and grids. Such initiative enhances resilience of the system against natural events and heightens reliability of services.

Steps Taken by All Subsidiaries

FirstEnergy plans to invest nearly $10 billion in regulated business through 2021 to strengthen and augment infrastructure. Recently, its subsidiaries completed the inspections of transmission lines. Since 2014, the company has upgraded or replaced existing power lines and incorporated smart technology into the grid. FirstEnergy upgraded dozens of substations with new equipment and enhanced security features to serve customers more efficiently.

The company has initiated a modernization drive plan named “Energizing the Future.” Aiming for upgraded and expanded regulated transmission capabilities, the company expects to invest $1-$1.2 billion annually through 2021.

Modern Technology Used by FirstEnergy

Regular monitoring and servicing involves more expenses, time and manpower.  Usage of modern technology offers a fast and safe method of surveying locations. Utility companies are investing regularly to provide safe, clean and reliable service to customers.

Adopting advanced technologies to maintain and inspect expansive infrastructure, drones are gradually becoming popular among the utility service providers in the United States. Xcel Energy Inc (XEL - Free Report) , CMS Energy Corp (CMS - Free Report) and PPL Corporation (PPL - Free Report) have already started to utilize drones to maintain their infrastructure. Considering the benefits of drones, we expect to see higher usage of the same among other providers as well.

Zacks Rank & Price Movement

FirstEnergy currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


Shares of FirstEnergy have returned 14.5% against the industry’s decline of 10.2% in the last 12 months. The upside can be attributed to the continuous investments made by the company to upgrade and modernize transmission and distribution lines.

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