Annual inspection of Poles and Underground Wire
Utility poles and underground facilities are inspected just like the vehicle you drive. Liability insurance carriers require us to check a certain amount each year. Our cycle is around 13,000 poles annually. At that rate, the entire system is evaluated every ten years. This cycle meets insurance requirements and ensures a solid network for our membership.
Poles are regularly inspected for safety issues like unauthorized attachments, wood peckers holes, and ground-line rotting issues. Trees coming outside of the right-of-way are often blown on or around our poles. People will sometimes nail up signs. We’ve even seen items hung such as a basketball goal or a deer stand. All of these are dangerous to our line crews and could result in injury because they cause hazardous climbing conditions. Woodpecker damage has also been found to be a big issue. While the woodpecker may only be looking for vibrations or buzzing, boring into the pole weakens the structure and sacrifices a pole’s integrity.
In the same fashion as poles, we inspect nearly 10% of our underground each year. Underground wiring is three times the cost of overhead. Because it travels out of site, it is also harder to operate and maintain. We’re required to inspect both underground wire and enclosures on a regular basis. These inspections involve looking for damage caused by pests, labeling and relabeling wire for proper feeder flow, and updating our mapping system for ease of use and safe powerline operation.
Animals sometimes invade underground enclosures to escape the elements or in search of food. Once inside, they will chew on the rubber material covering the metal conductors. That material is there for the safe handling of electricity, but its absence can also cause an outage on our system. Aside from eradicating such pests, pole inspectors place numbering tags to show feed in and feed out wiring. Digital pictures are then pulled from inspections and tied to particular equipment in our database. This cataloging process enables linemen to know exactly how the line conducts electricity in and out of each enclosure. Our in-house mapping system is updated with the same information so that no matter which crew pulls up on an underground apparatus, they can operate it in a safe and efficient manner.
We are able to provide our members with safe and reliable energy by maintaining a solid network. One we can all depend on for years to come.
The Current Times provides an excellent means for communication between the cooperative and its members on all topics ranging from green energy such as solar power, to energy saving tips and incentives, to the basic business and financial aspects of the co-op.