From drones, smart meters and pipeline contracts to the nbn rollout and what Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet meant for utilities, 2015 has been a big year for the industry.

Before 2016 kicks into gear, have a look back at the top five stories of the year.

1. Aerial drones: the future of asset inspection
Unmanned aerial systems are being employed for asset inspection by a growing number of utilities throughout the world. We spoke to Melbourne Water Technology Enablement Specialist Frank Courtney about the company’s recent trials of drone technology.

2. Collating, conveying and coordinating – a new standard for subsurface utility information
Knowing the precise location of a subsurface utility, what it is, its condition and its status can significantly reduce the occurrence of interference and conflict with valuable infrastructure. AS5488-2013 committee member Bruce Potter explained some of the background to the development of the Classification of Subsurface Utility Information Standard , and how it is intended to be used.

3. Regulations on vegetation management practices in Australia
In 2015 electricity network service providers in Australia were required to meet new economic benchmarking requirements set by the Australian Energy Regulator. Here, we found out what changes were coming.

4. GIS the future of asset management
Since its development began almost 30 years ago, SA Water has developed its geographic information system (GIS) into a robust network that is used for a wide variety of applications. We spoke to Senior Asset Information Analyst John Bormann about how SA Water staff interact with the GIS, and its important place in the future of utility asset management.

5. Turnbull’s Cabinet: what does it mean for utilities?
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unveiled his new Cabinet, with a number of significant changes, including the ministers responsible for utility-related areas including energy and the NBN. 

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