South Central Power | South Central Power

Pole inspections help locate deteriorating poles

February 26, 2021

Providing our members across 24 counties and 12,000 miles of line with safe, reliable electricity involves a lot of ongoing inspection and maintenance of our equipment.

One way we continually monitor the health of our electric system is through a pole inspection program. The program helps to identify poles with early stages of decay and/or damaged poles for corrective action. Proper maintenance of poles, including inspection and/or application of remedial treatment, helps add longevity of safe, reliable service life to South Central Power Company’s poles.

At South Central Power, we pursue a comprehensive wood pole inspection program, which includes sound and bore, excavation, and remedial treatments. First, poles are visually inspected for any visually apparent decay or damage. Poles are “sounded” with a hammer to detect internal decay, and poles are bored at specific angles to determine the extent of the decay. Next, if necessary, based upon the age of the pole, a partial or full excavation around the pole helps identify the extent of external groundline decay and allows for decayed wood to be removed, arresting
further decay. All measurements are combined into a strength calculation tool, which helps us determine whether a pole meets safety requirements or needs to be replaced.

Serviceable poles will receive preservative paste and protective backing paper to protect the remaining wood and stop future decay, enhancing system reliability.

South Central Power contracts its pole inspection service with Osmose Utility Services, Inc., which has been around since 1934, evolving from preservative business to an industry leader in inspection and pole restoration solutions.

The South Central Power pole inspection program follows a 10-year inspection cycle of all poles in our system in accordance with the decay zone as defined by USDA Rural Utilities Service.

Poles within the Hillsboro district service territory will be inspected in 2021 and 2022. Members are contacted by phone in advance of inspections being conducted in their area, as our contractor may need access to members’ properties to inspect poles. Be sure to update your phone number in our system so you receive our notifications.

From the March 2021 issue of Ohio Cooperative Living.