AEP Texas drone program takes flight

The buzz of the tiny propellers were music to Abilene MDS Ike Liles’ ears.

“Today was a great day,” said Liles.

Liles was in Uvalde along with RGV MDS Rock Martinez and RGV employees and drone pilots Moses Vega and Roland Segundo and Abilene Engineer Athan Himmelstein last week for the first official flight of the new company-owned drones at the Uvalde County Fairplex.

Liles and Martinez led a team of four employees taking part in a pilot drone program to explore the benefits of using drones to provide another set of “eyes” in the day-to-day operations. Two employees from Abilene and two from the RGV earned their pilots license and traveled to Uvalde to fly the drones.

“Our guys are finally getting a chance to fly these drones and now we can go out use them in the field,” Liles said. “This will be another tool for us in our toolbox and we’ll start using them more often. They will help us patrol lines after storms; they will help engineers with staking. It is limitless on what we can do with them.”

During Hurricane Harvey in 2017, AEP Texas hired third party contractors to fly drones over the devastation. The “eye in the sky” technology gave damage assessors and crews a bird’s eye view of destroyed facilities and of the work that needed to happen to restore electricity.

This prompted Tom Coad, vice president of Distribution Region Operations, to execute the pilot program. He put Liles and Martinez in charge of the team.

“AEP Texas has always been at the forefront of technology and this is another key piece of technology that our employees will use in their daily work,” Coad said. “There is a lot of excitement and a lot of employees have already expressed interest in become drone pilots.”

Coad said the drones would be used as first responders to help identify damage in the field following a storm and keeping our employees out of harm’s way. The drones also have a thermal feature that will allow mechanics to see hot spots in equipment and identify if parts are heating up without getting too close to the equipment.

Coad gave Liles and Martinez his blessing to continue with the program and explore different ways to use the drones, purchase new drones and certify more pilots.

“These drones will be an important component in helping improve reliability for customers in the next several years,” Coad said.

Currently four employees are already certified drone pilots. Vega, Segundo, Himmelstein and Sawyer Bocanegra from Childress are licensed to fly the drones.  They will use them in their respective districts as needed.

More From AEP Texas

Learn More Connected To You. Connected To Texas.

Connected To You. Connected To Texas.

Use Online Form Report Outages On Your Mobile Phone

Report Outages On Your Mobile Phone

Watch The Video

Downed Lines On Your Car

Visit AEP.com
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of the AEP Terms and Conditions. View our Privacy Policy. © 1996-2019 American Electric Power. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy for AEP Texas, a unit of American Electric Power (AEP)


This Privacy Policy applies only to AEPTexas.com and the AEP Texas customer mobile app (com.aep.customerapp.aeptexas). Other AEP websites and apps may be governed by their own privacy policies, appropriate to the uses and needs of each. Throughout the site or app, we may provide links to resources and sites that are not part of AEPTexas.com or the AEP Texas customer mobile app. This Privacy Policy does not apply to those resources and sites.


By using this site or app, you consent to the terms of this Privacy Policy. Whenever you submit information via this site or app, you agree to the collection, use, and disclosure of that information in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

Information Collected

  1. Passively collected information

    During your use of this site or app, we may collect anonymous information about your visit here through the use of server logs, cookies, scripts, tracking pixels and other Web traffic tracking systems. This information is aggregated and used to improve user experience through analysis of user activities. This information is never combined with any of the personally identifiable information you may provide in your use of the features of this site or app.
  2. Personally identifiable information

    On certain forms of this site or app, you may be asked to provide information about yourself or your account with us, either to identify yourself to us or to request a service from us. In each case, we will inform you what information is provided at your option and what information is required to complete the transaction or activity you are engaged in. If you are unwilling to provide this required information, you will be unable to complete the requested transaction.

Use and disclosure of information

The information you provide to us will be used to respond to requests you may make for services. Some or all of this information may be added to your permanent account record and may be used for research purposes.

In addition, we may use elements of this information in the following situations:

  1. We may transfer the information to AEP Texas’s affiliates and subsidiaries, unless such transfer is prohibited by law;
  2. We may transfer the information as part of a merger, consolidation, acquisition, divestiture or other corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy);
  3. We may make the information available to third parties who are providing the product, service or information that you have requested (but not your password);
  4. We may make such information available to third parties who are providing services to AEP Texas (for example, providing the information to third parties performing computer-related services for AEP Texas);
  5. We may use the information to communicate with you about products and services that may be of interest to you.
  6. We may disclose the information if we form a good-faith belief that disclosure of such information is necessary to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding any illegal activities or regarding interference with the operation of our site or violation of its terms of use; or
  7. We may disclose the information if we believe that disclosure is required by law or regulation or in response to a subpoena or other order of a court or other governmental agency.

AEP Texas uses Flurry Analytics Service (provided by Yahoo) in order to improve its mobile apps. Flurry’s privacy policy governs the use of this information.

Also, AEP Texas reserves the right to share any aggregated information (i.e., non-personally identifiable information) with any third parties for any reason, unless prohibited by law.

We will not sell, rent or otherwise disclose the information we gather about you or your account to any third party, except as outlined in this Privacy Policy.


AEP Texas takes reasonable steps to protect your personally identifiable information as it is transferred to us, through the use of Web technologies such as the Secure Sockets Layer and others. However, no Internet transmission of information is ever completely secure or error-free. In particular, e-mail sent to or from AEP Texas may not be secure.

How to Reach Us

If you would like to update your personally identifiable information or if you have questions about this privacy policy, please contact us.

Changes to This Policy

AEP Texas reserves the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time. If this Privacy Policy changes, the revised policy will be posted to this site. Please review this Privacy Policy before you provide any personally identifiable information through this site. Use of our web site after the posting of a revised privacy policy constitutes your consent to the revised policy.

This policy was last revised on December 13, 2017.

Close ×

Sign Up For Alerts

Subscribing to AEP Texas alerts gives you instant notification for:

  • Billing & Payments - avoid late payments and disconnection
  • Outage Updates - find out if there's an outage at your address and when power will be back on

Win an Xbox One with Alerts!

Enroll in alerts to be eligible to win. Subscribing to I&M alerts gives you instant notification for:

  • Billing & Payments - avoid late payments and disconnection
  • Outage Updates - find out if there's an outage at your address and when power will be back on

Loading video...