- Associated Press - Monday, June 22, 2015

CEMENT CITY, Mich. (AP) - Consumers Energy has launched a drone to inspect utility poles and wind turbines in parts of Michigan.

The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports (https://bit.ly/1FwNRUb ) the unmanned aerial vehicle can transport a 14-pound payload and can be used to inspect utility lines and take thermal and regular video images.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan was on hand for a launch event on Monday. He says the utility has the chance “to be a big leader” in the use of drones. He says the technology can ultimately mean lower costs for the company and lower rates.

The newspaper says approval from the FAA allows Consumers Energy to use a drone for inspections in Jackson, Mason and Tuscola counties.

Consumers Energy is a unit of Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp.

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Information from: Jackson Citizen Patriot, https://www.mlive.com/jackson

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