Edison Electric Institute applauds passage of drone-enabling bill

WASHINGTON (July 13, 2016) –  Edison Electric Institute (EEI) President Tom Kuhn issued the following statement today commending Congress for passing H.R. 636, the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016.

This bipartisan legislation reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through September 2017 and includes provisions supporting electric power companies utilizing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for energy grid maintenance and service restoration.

“EEI thanks members of the House and Senate for their bipartisan support of the FAA reauthorization legislation, which includes important provisions that support the electric power industry’s efforts to better utilize unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to build and maintain a smarter, more resilient energy grid to deliver safe and reliable energy to our customers.

“With this legislation, Congress has made clear its priorities for the FAA, specifically highlighting the need for owners and operators of critical infrastructure to operate unmanned aircraft beyond visual line of sight. In accordance with the FAA’s recently-released rule for small commercial UAS, EEI, our member companies, and our technology partners will continue to work with the FAA to demonstrate safe UAS usage and to develop guidelines that will allow companies to improve routine maintenance of our energy infrastructure and to help restore service to our customers more quickly following natural disasters.”

EEI is the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. Our members provide electricity for 220 million Americans, operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and directly and indirectly support more than 1 million jobs. EEI has more than 70 international electric companies as International Members, and 270 industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate Members.