FREDERICK, Colo. (CBS4) – Xcel Energy is now using drones to inspect transmission lines across Colorado.

An Xcel Energy drone (credit: CBS)

The company used a drone for the first time in Frederick on Wednesday.

In years past, Xcel would normally use a helicopter or a plane to inspect the transmission lines. Officials say using drones is cheaper, quicker and safer.

(credit: CBS)

“Drone technology is really beneficial because it’s a smaller aircraft. It has less impact on the environment, and we’re able to get closer to the structures,” Eileen Lockhart, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Manager for Xcel.

Xcel Energy employees (credit: CBS)

The company says it plans to use drones to inspect about 200 miles of transmission lines by the end of the year.