• News
  • Co-op Named 2014 Wood Pole Program Winner

Co-op Named 2014 Wood Pole Program Winner

Co-op Named 2014 Wood Pole Program Winner

Sam Houston Electric Cooperative won the 2014 Wood Pole Management Award presented by Osmose, the Cooperative’s pole inspection contractor. This award recognizes outstanding pole inspection and treatment programs.

“The Wood Pole Management Award recognizes utilities who have successfully implemented wood pole inspection and treatment programs that contribute to positive financial, structural reliability, and operational outcomes, including effective risk management and enhanced safety,” said Nelson Bingel, vice president of product strategy for Osmose.

Sam Houston EC began its pole inspection program in 1977, and is in the fifth review of the entire electrical distribution system. Since completion of the first cycle, the Co-op has consistently had a passing rate of over 98 percent–meaning less than two percent of poles need either attention or replacement.

“We’re taking care of our assets,” Sam Houston EC Chief Operations Officer David Babcock said. “We’re being good stewards.”

Construction Inspector Greg Goertz has managed the Cooperative’s program for the past 15 years. In addition to his other duties, he reviews reports of the pole conditions and shares the information with the operations and engineering departments for system planning and improvements.

“This program keeps our system in good shape, and it helps to keep the lights on for our members as well,” Goertz said.

Poles that need to be replaced are first evaluated for restoration. Those that can be rehabilitated are restored to code-mandated strength for less than the cost of their replacement.

“By staying in a constant cycle, Sam Houston EC has a less than 2 percent reject rate [poles that need to be replaced],” Osmose Supervisor Jerold Stewart said. “This is significant because we are in the highest decay zone in the United States.”

The wood pole inspection includes visual inspection, sounding the pole, boring holes in potentially weak spots, and excavating below ground level. For a full explanation of the process, visit the Cooperative’s new blog.

“Accurate inspection, decay assessment, and remedial treatment are key components of effective wood pole maintenance programs,” said Lauren Glass, Osmose marketing manager. “Successful programs not only improve the safety and reliability of the pole, they extend the useful life of the poles, creating both financial and environmental benefits.”