Case Study

How El Paso Electric counters high winds and vegetation overgrowth with satellites and AI



Netze BW realizes high accuracy with satellite and AI vegetation assessments

A more intelligent vegetation management system helps a utility company maximize their limited resources


El Paso Electric logo
  • Company: El Paso Electric
  • Location: United States
  • Solution: AiDash Intelligent Vegetation Management System (IVMS)


Reallocated 7.7% of the budget to critical areas

Improved safety conditions for workers

Increased reliability for customers



El Paso Electric (EPE) needed to maximize their existing resources to meet rising vegetation management threats. 

On the evening of March 4, 2022, El Paso Electric’s Victor Bishop got a notification that one of their distribution feeders was out. And it was out in spectacular fashion—engulfed in flames. His team acted quickly, and they were about to route power to that line via a flip flop until the feeder could be repaired.


What happened? As is often the case, the outage was caused by the high winds impacting tree overgrowth. According to a study by the Tulane University Law School, tree and power line conflicts are responsible for as much as 70-80% of all outages nationwide.


But Bishop was alarmed by this particular outage, because that feeder should have been clear from vegetation overgrowth. EPE maintains vegetation on its feeders on approximately 3-year trim cycles, so not only should there have been no vegetation encroachment to speak of, but they also weren’t going to inspect it again for another year and a half. 


EPE has about 5,000 line miles of distribution overhead conductors. Their service territory spans from the far western part of Texas all the way to southern New Mexico, with diverse vegetation that includes both desert and river valley areas.   


That vegetation program is managed by one person, on a budget of $2.6 million.  


Per their 3-year vegetation maintenance (VM) schedule, EPE services and trims about 130 of their 400 feeders each year. All of it had to be inspected manually. What’s more, the processes on Bishop’s end were manual, too. He had to download and physically print out maps for his contractors. And he only has so many crews (14) at his disposal, and they charge by the hour.   


It was just not an efficient system.   


The lack of efficiency, coupled with the limited resources, was a vexing problem. How could EPE become more proactive in preventing tree-related outages? Short of securing much more budget and hiring substantially more crews — which he knew was not going to happen — Bishop needed a better VM system.

“When we were on our manual program, we went in there and trimmed everything that was within 5 feet, because I wasn't going to see that feeder for another 3 years. We wasted a lot of time on that. Had we had this program, and now that we do have this program, I can go tackle exactly what I need to tackle to prevent an outage.”
Victor T. Bishop
Supervisor - Distribution Crew
El Paso Electric



EPE precisely focused on problem areas and tactically assigned crews using AiDash IVMS technology


EPE launched a pilot program with AiDash that enabled Bishop to be much more efficient.  


For one thing, he was able to plan, assign, and track work from his desktop and push that out to his contractors via the mobile app, instead of printing out maps and highlighting things for them.   


He was also able to much more precisely and tactically look at where they needed to focus their work, thanks to the color-coded map from AiDash. Before using AiDash IVMS, the crews trimmed everything that was within 5 feet, because they knew they wouldn’t be back to trim a given feeder again for 3 years.  


On top of that, AiDash lets Bishop verify that the work has been completed and that clearances are within an acceptable range, freeing him from having to drive out and inspect it all in person.  



EPE reallocated 7.7% of their O&M budget to critical areas, improved safety conditions for workers, and increased reliability for customers in the pilot.


For its pilot program with AiDash, EPE focused on 19 of their 408 feeders. Bishop said they chose feeders in areas of particularly dense vegetation — mainly river valleys (as opposed to their desert locales, where they mostly deal with short mesquite shrubs). The area they chose covers 300 miles of transmission circuits.


From that area alone, EPE expects to reclaim over $202,000 in expenses that they can reallocate to critical areas. That’s about 7.7% of Bishop’s total operations and maintenance (O&M) budget.


EPE is in the process of deploying AiDash statewide. They expect improvements in all these areas:


  • 5-10% cost efficiency.
  • Safety for contractors and private contractors.
  • Reliability for customers (SAIDI/SAIFI).
  • Determining actual clearances remotely and precisely.
  • Efficient use of resources.
  • Tree growth analysis.
  • Preparation for climate changes


To learn more about how EPE used AiDash IVMS to maximize their resources to meet rising vegetation management threats, read this blog post


Or get more information about AiDash Intelligent Vegetation Management System (IVMS) here




About AiDash
AiDash is an AI-first vertical SaaS company on a mission to transform operations, maintenance, and sustainability in industries with geographically distributed assets by using satellites and AI at scale. With access to a continual, near-real-time stream of critical data, utilities, energy, transportation, water and wastewater, and other core industries can make more informed decisions and build optimized long-term plans, all while reducing costs, improving reliability, and achieving sustainability goals. To learn more about how AiDash is helping core industries become more resilient, efficient, and sustainable, visit

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