TEA and eSmart Systems help JEA restore power to Hurricane Irma victims.

ThunderCloud©—mobile drone operations center in the San Marco neighborhood of Jacksonville, FL

JACKSONVILLE – September 15, 2017

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, JEA, the largest municipal utility in Florida, was able to deploy advanced drone technology to safely and quickly assess damage from the storm.  As an owner of The Energy Authority (TEA), a non-profit Data Analytics, Energy Trading, and Risk Management company, JEA has full access to many unique resources.  For example, TEA utilizes eSmart Systems’ (eSmart) Connected Grid© software to perform big data analytics functions for the benefit of JEA and other public power utilities.  As Irma approached the Florida peninsula, TEA and eSmart identified an opportunity to help JEA in its post-storm recovery.

While JEA currently has four employees licensed as drone operators, eSmart and its partner firm, SkySkopes, were able to provide the equipment, expertise, certifications, and cutting edge software features to quickly add capacity and structure to JEA’s efforts that delivered information in real time to work crews more safely and quickly than could be accomplished otherwise.

We at eSmart Systems are once again proud to be a valued partner of TEA to bring solutions to its utility members. And no solution could be more important than helping the people of Florida to more quickly and safely get their lights back on after Hurricane Irma

Knut Johansen
CEO of eSmart Systems

From Harvey to Irma

Prior to the storm, SkySkopes’ operators arrived in Jacksonville from Houston where they had recently been providing similar services to assist Texas utilities in recovering from Hurricane Harvey. The team weathered the storm in a downtown hotel so they were assembled and ready to begin operations as soon as wind speeds were at a safe level. 

“Safety is always our highest priority, but SkySkopes is also constantly striving to find use-cases for small unmanned aircraft to benefit partners and clients.  Using our advanced aircraft, sensors, mobile command stations, and professional UAS pilots we were able to successfully demonstrate the unique value of new aerial data collection methods to TEA, JEA, and eSmart Systems in hurricane damage assessment.  Every day we save in the delivery of critical data to a utility such as JEA can save weeks in elements of the recovery process, which ultimately means value to their customers,” said Matt Dunlevy, President and CEO of SkySkopes, Inc.

Footage from Connected Drone© power line inspection in Jacksonville, FL

Proactively Forming Strategic Partnerships 

The flight crews went into action on Tuesday, September 12.  They were used to assess damage and flooding without putting human crews at risk while relaying essential information that prepared JEA crews to repair damage quickly when they arrived at an impacted site. Additionally, eSmart’s mobile operations center, ThunderCloud©, was driven out to affected areas to serve as a base for flying inspection drones along power lines. A major advantage of the state-of-the-art unmanned aerial systems used by SkySkopes is that they employ machine learning and provide live steaming video to utility professionals who could remotely detect damage or monitor repair and recovery efforts.

JEA strives to provide excellent service to its customers. Collaborating with companies at the forefront of software and drone technology operations is a great example of how JEA proactively forms strategic partnerships and leverages them to innovate and constantly improve our critical response processes

Paul McElroy

TEA actively seeks out and builds relationships with industry partners that provide public power with the advantage of flexibility, faster response time, adaptability, and cutting-edge technology. When the stakes are high, like unprecedented hurricane conditions, TEA’s relationships enable public power utilities as they perform essential restoration services to their customers and communities.

Joanie Teofilo

Find the full press release here.

Footage from Connected Drone© power line inspection in Jacksonville, FL

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