Hydro One replacing over 11,000 wood poles to maintain reliability
By Anthony Capkun
June 14, 2013 – Hydro One crews across Ontario are replacing 11,000 poles this year across the utility’s 120,000-km distribution system. “This [$82-million] investment is part of an ongoing program to continually assess the condition of our power system and make significant upgrades to improve overall reliability,” said Mitch Ouellette, director, distribution asset management, Hydro One.
The poles slated for replacement were identified through Hydro One’s pole testing and assessment program. All powerlines, poles and related equipment owned and operated by the utility are inspected periodically to identify any potential problems so they can be corrected without causing an unplanned power interruption. Over time, pole quality can be affected by decay and rot, insect and rodent damage, or mechanical impact. Wood poles that are in need of replacement are more susceptible to damage from strong winds and severe storms.
Wood poles that need to be replaced during an unplanned outage as a result of a failure can take substantially more time to replace, says Hydro One, and can leave customers in the dark when they most need to use electricity. With 1.7 million wood poles in Hydro One’s distribution system, more than 340,000 will need to be replaced in the next 10 years. The average life span of a wood pole is about 62 years.