Utility Pole Life Extension – Reaping the Rewards of Predictive Maintenance



Why Lifespan Matters

According to Power Grid International, there are between 160 and 180 million wood utility poles in service in this country, costing over $1,000 per unit to replace. Allied Market Research shows us that the global utility poles market size was valued at $45.6 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $58.8 billion by 2026. This data tells us these poles are among the most valuable assets a utility company owns.



Utilities want to maximize their revenue. Therefore, promoting long service life and establishing a preventative maintenance plan reduces the need for unnecessary pole inspection field trips and costly replacement.



The Laborious Task of Maintenance 

Standing utility poles are the backbone of an electric power grid. An integral step in maintaining the integrity of the grid is a well planned and executed process to continuously inspect each pole in the system. On the surface, this may sound simple in reality, the process of meticulously investigating, assessing and documenting this process can be intensive. The standard is to inspect poles on a 5-to-12-year cycle depending on the decay zone the utility operates.



Preventing Decay with Preventive Maintenance


North American Wood Pole Council shows us the predominant reason for pole removal or replacement is decay.


Screen Shot 2021-08-27 at 14.22.08Numerous factors can accelerate the decay of a pole, poor treatment processes, damp soil and a myriad of fungi and insects that destroys wood poles.

Setting up a well-documented process to ensure the condition of the poles in your grid is critical to predict utility pole lifespan and avoid unnecessary replacements.




Carbon Footprint

More recently, utilities have begun to examine their carbon footprint.  This article by Pole Saver explains the extent of impact utility pole production has on the environment.

“All pole types produce anthropogenic greenhouse gasses and ecotoxicity air emissions in production. The worst effect of utility pole types is the CO2 production over the entire lifespan.” 


Public and Workforce Safety


In today’s world of digitization, employing tools that help you create and execute a thoughtful pole inspection program is vital. It can save you money and time, document the process by each poles asset tag and improves utility personnel and public safety.

In fact, according to Ashley Little at Alden, installers and repairers of utility poles are ranked one of the top ten most dangerous jobs in the country.

Fallen trees, low hanging high-voltage wires, climbing obstructions and storm damage are all consequences of delaying a pole inspection. Long-term, these dangers can prove incredibly destructive to asset owners and their organizations.

Check out this video by Alden, which describes the extent of the potential risks to maintenance teams carrying out daily maintenance safety checks and pole replacement visits. If these dangers can be reduced or avoided, a preventative maintenance application like that of 60Hertz has the potential to save hundreds of lives a year.




The 60Hertz Difference


60Hertz Energy has developed a novel tool to help utilities, regardless of size, implement a thorough and easily executable plan to guarantee pole inspections are carried out as required. Even if you use external contract crews our tools give you the confidence and documentation that your policies and procedures are adhered to.

60Hertz Maintenance Manager

Our Maintenance Manager app gives utility management personnel the ability to create a schedule for each pole in your grid. It can ingest your GIS asset data and identify each pole in your grid allowing you to schedule inspections, assign personnel, track their progress and validate their work.

The Maintenance Manager can be customized to fit your process and policymaking sure adoption is easy and quickly. Once the pole inspection policy is established in Maintenance Manager, field crew managers will be notified of needed inspections and when they are due. These inspections can be assigned to a utility inspector or an outside contractor. An inspection order can then be pushed automatically to that individual’s mobile device.

60Hertz Trak App

Our Trak App is used by field crews to carry out and document inspection orders. They receive a notification on the app of the inspections assigned, including geo-coordinates of each asset’s location. They can carry out the required tests (hammer test, bore test, below ground assessment and visual inspection) and use a customized form to document the results. They can attach photos of the asset. This form is automatically uploaded to the Maintenance Manager where a supervisor can approve, assign a service or replacement order or simply archive the inspection form for regulatory and insurance compliance needs. With our advanced cybersecurity, you can allow contractors to use the mobile app and realize all these benefits.

If you have any questions or would like to book a demo of our 60Hertz app, please contact one of our friendly team.



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