ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) is taking to the skies this week to conduct its annual inspections of power lines.

CVEC typically uses helicopters to inspect its electric transmission lines. However, this year the company switched to drones.

"The pictures and images that we receive from the drones is in much more detail than what we can get from a helicopter. They can fly closer, and also, from a safety point of view, we don't have to put a man up in the air in a helicopter to do the inspections," CVEC Operations Manager Jason Palmer said.

The drones can cover more area, and have less of an impact on the environment than the helicopters used in the past.

"At the end of the day it does take a little longer with the drone, because it's a little slower process. But, again, we're looking at from a price and what we get for our quality of images, and we can do a little bit more in-depth inspections with the drones," said Palmer.

The drones come from Precision Hawk out of North Carolina. The company will be covering a 75-mile area during the process of these inspections, and wants to assure those who live nearby they will have their privacy.

"I think there's a lot of fear about what we may be using the drones for, but it's basically just to fly our lines and look at our poles and nothing else," Palmer said,

They expect to complete inspections sometime by the end of the week.