Field workers now can report bird sitings with FirstEnergy mobile app
image credit: Credit: FirstEnergy
- May 15, 2020 3:54 pm GMTMay 15, 2020 1:01 pm GMT
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FirstEnergy Corp. has deployed an app that allows utility personnel to report avian issues in real time.
The app allows field workers to submit photos and answer questions using a drop-down menu to report the location of bird nests or other bird-related issues along the company's power lines, all from their mobile devices.
"Digital reporting through the app allows us to expedite the approval process and documents each case from start to finish so we can access the information for many years to come if needed," said Amy Ruszala, a scientist and in-house avian expert at FirstEnergy. She said the app saves employees the time of having to return to the office to complete and submit paperwork and enables them to report issues with a few clicks on their phones.
The app was developed by a third-party vendor and was rolled out by FirstEnergy's two electric companies with the highest level of bird activity, the Pennsylvania Power Company and Jersey Central Power and Light. The utility said it plans to launch the app across its entire service area over the next year.
FirstEnergy said that it has used drones to complete bird nest inspections and has helped install nesting platforms in areas where birds nest on electrical equipment. The utility said these efforts over the past two years are intended to reduce power outages caused by nesting birds.
The utility said that disturbing or removing bird nests from electrical equipment and utility poles can be complicated by environmental regulations. It said its environmental staff works with state wildlife officials to develop a plan to remove or relocate nests while attemtping to protect the birds.
FirstEnergy serves customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York, and operates around 24,500 miles of transmission lines.