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Balasore: TPNODL, covering a vast operational area of 27,920 sq. km, primarily comprising bare overhead networks of 33KV, 11KV, and low-tension lines, has emerged as a pioneer in adopting advanced technologies to enhance its utility services. With 77% of the network catering to rural areas, including forested regions, and 226 feeders extending over 50+ km, the company faces unique challenges in vegetation management, network constraints, and hotspot identification.
Recognizing the immense potential of drone technology, TPNODL has embraced an innovative approach to transform its infrastructure inspection, asset maintenance, surveillance, and emergency response practices. By leveraging unmanned aerial vehicles, the company has achieved safer, more efficient, and cost-effective solutions. The applications and benefits of drone technology in TPNODL include infrastructure inspection, asset maintenance and monitoring, distribution line surveillance, emergency response, and enhanced safety and risk reduction.
Through drone-driven thermo scanning condition based maintenance audits, TPNODL has scanned 91 feeders, covering approximately 2429 km in length and capturing over 7,000 images. These audits have led to the identification of 1223 observations of hotspots, out of which 948 (78%) have already been rectified.
TPNODL has also introduced Predictive Maintenance using ultrasound scanning technology. Ultrasound Scanning is actually conducted to predict the future failure through capturing the electrical discharges in electrical network & preventive measures are taken immediately to mitigate the untimely break down. This camera combines both sonic & ultrasonic frequencies to detect discharges that are often completely inaudible to the human ear, thereby facilitating data-driven decisions, prioritizing maintenance tasks efficiently, extending asset lifespan, reducing cost of failures, and ensure the reliable delivery of essential services while minimizing environmental impact.Till date 34 nos. of 33KV feeders have been scanned using ultrasonic technology and 151 observations identified out of which 88% have been rectified.
TPNODL has also introduced aerial Enforcement activities using drones fitted with the night vision camera to capture HD images/video of theft. This was initiated in view of the theft activity by the consumers with no or lesser accessibility & particularly for –
 Agriculture
 Prawn Culture
 Surveillance at theft prone areas with public hindrances for physical visit
 Surveillance during odd hours
TPNODL introduced aerial meter reading using fixed wing drone for Lift Irrigation & Rural inaccessible consumers. We serve around 35K Lift irrigation (LI) consumers under Agriculture tariff category. Most of these consumers are located deep inside the paddy fields, Inaccessible due to water logging, far away from roads & walking through the land is difficult & thus those consumers were billed at provisional billing basis.
TPNODL has taken the initiative to install BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) meters for all such agricultural lift irrigation connections and meter reading is being captured by a fixed wing drone through an android mobile app.
5646 nos. BLE Meters were already installed & meter reading is being regularly captured through drone and bill delivered on actual basis.
Looking forward, the role of drones in TPNODL is set to expand further with advancements in artificial intelligence, automation, and data analytics. By harnessing the capabilities of drones for predictive maintenance, TPNODL aims to forecast potential equipment failures and intervene proactively to avoid disruptions and ensure uninterrupted services to its consumers. Predictive maintenance offers numerous advantages, including minimized downtime, cost-effectiveness, and increased equipment lifespan.
“As a forward-looking utility company, we remain committed to embracing cutting-edge technologies to enhance our inspection, maintenance, and overall utility operations. The integration of drones and ultrasonic cameras has been instrumental in achieving our mission of delivering reliable and efficient services to our consumers while driving the transition towards a sustainable and resilient energy future” said Mr. Bhaskar Sarkar, CEO of TP Northern Odisha Distribution Limited.
With its relentless pursuit of innovation and commitment to adopting advanced technologies, TPNODL continues to set new benchmarks in the utility industry, ensuring the reliable and efficient supply of electricity to its diverse consumer base.

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