Aug 20, 2014
To help enhance the reliability of its system, Penn Power crews have replaced about 115 wooden utility poles so far this year as part of the company's annual inspection program.
This year, Penn Power will inspect almost 11,000 of its 128,000 wooden poles for signs of wear, insect infestation or damage from vehicle or other accidents. All wood poles throughout the six-county Penn Power service territory are inspected on a 12-year cycle. Inspections began in January and will continue through summer in the Cranberry, Clark and Newberry areas, with the remaining pole replacements and repairs scheduled to be completed during the fall.
"Wooden utility poles are the backbone of our system, delivering electricity to every home and business in our service area," said Randy Frame, president of Penn Power. "Utility poles are in the elements year-round and subject to damage from severe weather, falling trees, and traffic accidents. While they are very durable, over the decades, they may become weakened or damaged and need to be replaced to help ensure our system remains reliable and resilient."
Typically, specialized contractors perform the pole inspections. As part of the process, a visual inspection is completed, along with checking the pole to determine if the interior is sound. Poles also can be reinforced rather than replaced. One of the most common reinforcement techniques is to snug a C-shaped steel beam against the pole, jackhammer the beam into the ground, and secure it to the pole with tight, metal bands.
A standard 40-foot wooden distribution pole usually is expected to last more than 50 years. The most common utility pole is made from a Southern Yellow Pine tree and costs about $400.
Penn Power serves more than 160,000 customers in all or parts of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Lawrence, and Mercer counties in western Pennsylvania. Visit FirstEnergy on the web at www.firstenergycorp.com, and follow Penn Power on Twitter @Penn_Power.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York.
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