Xcel Energy Inc. XEL announced that together with eSmart Systems and EDM International, it has successfully completed the first phase of a strategic initiative to improve the aerial inspection of the company’s transmission system. This phase was completed ahead of schedule in March and helped deploying Collaborative Intelligence to inspect and document 2,897 miles of Xcel Energy’s transmission assets.
Notably, the base of this solution —Collaborative Intelligence —combines human intelligence with Grid Vision™, an AI-based analytics servicefrom eSmart.
Expansion of the Initiative
Following the closure of the first phase, launched in December 2019, the company decided to stretch this multi-year project and launched the Phase Two in May 2020, to continue updating its asset records, trimming operational costs, shrinking failure rates and extending asset life.
This new phase is supposed to inspect another 5,000 miles of Xcel Energy's transmission system by this year-end. Similar to Phase One, transmission asset imagery will be collected by the company’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and manned helicopters. However, the Phase Two will witness an improvement in the inspection processes by enhancing the Collaborative Intelligence approach with a deeper integration of eSmart’s Grid Vision into the existing business processes.
Moreover, eSmart and EDM are using the Phase One image data to augment the efficiency of Grid Vision™, making the asset component identification and defect detection more effective.
With the summer season on and the stay-at-home orders in place due to the novel coronavirus, residential demand for electricity is expected to increase from the normal levels.Further, severe storms in the company’s service territories pose a threat to its transmissioninfrastructure.
Xcel Energy owns more than 20,000 miles of transmission lines, serving 22,000 MW of customer load. Thus, its initiative to get its transmission lines undergo a proper inspection and maintenance in a phased manner will strengthen its infrastructure, increase the reliability of its service and ensure an uninterrupted power supply to its customers.
Zacks Rank & Price Performance
Currently, the stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Shares of the company have gained 1.6% in the past six months against the industry’s decline of 12.9%.
Stocks to Consider
A few better-ranked stocks are Fortis Inc. FTS, DTE Energy Company DTE and CMS Energy Corporation CMS, all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Fortis’2020 earnings has moved 1.04% north over the past 30 days. It has a trailing four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 6.28%, on average.
The long-term earnings growth rate for DTE Energy is pegged at 5.53%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 earnings has remained unchanged over the past 30 days.
CMS Energy’s long-term earnings growth rate is 6.93%. It has a trailing four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 0.75%, on average.
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