Your online resource for preservative-treated wood utility poles in North America

Stellar speaker lineup for Powerline 2023 Conference on Oct. 11

PowerlineTimely and top-drawer presentations on critical issues facing utilities are on tap for the Powerline 2023 Overhead Conference on Oct. 11 in Overland Park, Kan.

This is the second year the North American Wood Pole Council is partnering with Endeavor Business Media to host the conference the day before the International Lineman's Rodeo & Expo Oct. 12-14. Endeavor manages the lineman event and publishes T&D World magazine and website.

The conference program includes presentations on all aspects of overhead systems, from structural design and infrastructure funding to managing and safeguarding line crews in the 21st century. Attendees also will learn about sustainable overhead design, today's modern wood crossarms, the effectiveness of pole inspection techniques and new ways to extend pole service life. Click here to see the full speaker program and descriptions.

The conference is intended for utility personnel who are involved with design, purchasing, installation, management and maintenance of the electrical distribution and transmission systems. Registration for Powerline 2023 is now open. Sponsorship opportunities for the conference also are available on the site.

Explore how to protect wood poles against wildfires

Today's wildfires can have devastating impacts for both communities and infrastructure such as utility poles. New technologies are available to utilities that can protect wood poles from the ravages of fire and keep power on.

Fire and PolesA new Fire Protection section dispels myths that other materials are impervious to fire and are better than wood. It details technologies now in use that protect poles effectively, proven by both laboratory tests and real world experience. This protection is available for new poles and can be applied to existing poles in service as well.

Also, review fire tests of both wood and composite fiberglass crossarms that show significant differences in performance under fire conditions

See more in the new Wood Pole Fire Protection section.

Wood crossarms highlighted in new section

Often overlooked, wood crossarms play a critical role in carrying lines other equipment in overhead systems today. A new Wood Crossarms section provides an in-depth look at these essential wood products in bringing electricity and communications to the world.

The new section includes an overview of the long history of wood crossarms and how they have evolved to become a durable, engineered component in electrical distribution. The Crossarms Today section features a special 6-minute video on wood crossarms. The section details the structural and treating standards for wood crossarms, as well as the environmental benefits compared to other crossarm materials, such as composite fiberglass.

There's also new information on the fire performance of wood crossarms, with video from fire tests on both wood and composite fiberglass crossarms. The tests simulated real-world conditions, with weights suspended from the arms as they were exposed to heat and flame.

See more in the Wood Crossarms section

Sustainable alternatives explored for overhead resiliency

SustainBigger may not be better -- nor sustainable -- when it comes to increasing wood pole sizes to improve overhead system resiliency. The new Technical Bulletin Sustainable Wood Pole Design for Overhead Systems explores practical alternatives to specifying larger poles.

Utilities should incorporate sustainable forestry into resiliency efforts and can do so by utilizing more readily available pole classes with spans between closer together.

The 12-page bulletin explores the natural growth of trees and its importance in creating larger poles, which are often more expensive due to limited availability. An alternative to specifying bigger poles is to move poles closer together, which enhances reliability while balancing what pole sizes are available in today's renewable forests.

Detailed examples are offered showing how to meet NESC requirements with shorter spans, as well as cost considerations. Take a look at this environmentally responsible alternative to keep electric lines up and working.

Updated ANSI standard for wood poles published

The national guide for specifying wood poles has been updated and is now available from ANSI. Standard O5.1-2022 includes numerous updates,improvements and clarifications to the standard used by electric and telecommunications utilities, engineers and wood pole manufacturers.

A key addition to the standard is the Photographic Manual of Wood Pole Characteristics, which was previously a separate publciation. The manual will help users identify permitted, limited or prohibited pole characteristics.

ANSI Standard O5.1-2022 can be purchased on ANSI WebStore for $60 and it is available as a printed guide or downloadable PDF file. Other O5 standards and packages are also available.

New guides available on today's wood pole preservatives

Preservative guides

With the retirement of a preservative used for wood utility poles, there are two new guides available to help utilities review and select other preservatives used to protect poles from decay fungi and insects.

The new Technical Bulletin Preservative Options for Wood Utility Poles reviews the six commonly available preservatives used today. It further details the process each preservative must go through to be approved for use in making durable, long-lasting utility poles.

A shorter, two-page guide Pole Principles - Preservatives for Wood Utility Poles offers an overview of the pole preservatives. Under each preservative is the species commonly treated and the companies that manufacturer the preservatives, including links to the manufacturer's website for additional information.

Check out the new guides in the Technical Library.

Pole disposal methods, regulations detailed

Utilities considering what to do with wood poles retired from service now have a guide on the variety of disposal methods used in the U.S. today in a new NAWPC Technical Bulletin.

Pole disposal

End of Service Life Disposal of Wood Utility Poles details the traditional ways utilities use to dispose of utility poles removed from service. It notes some 3 million to 4 million poles are removed from service annually.

Traditionally, disposal in landfills has been an option for utilities, but shrinking landfill space and concerns over preservatives in retired utility poles is beginning to limit disposal options. Reuse and repurposing poles offers an alternative with the least impact on the environment.

The 16-page bulletin includes an overview of regulations in all 50 states that impact pole disposal, as well as contact information for state agencies that regulate such disposal.

Review the new bulletin in the Technical Library.

Carbon calculator highlights wood pole, crossarm benefits

Utilities eager to tell customers about their commitment to the environment now have a new tool that quantifies the green benefits of preservative-treated wood poles and crossarms.

CarbonCalcThe Technical Bulletin Calculating Carbon in Wood Utility Poles and Crossarms details how to calculate the amount of carbon sequestered in a utility's inventory of wood utility poles and crossarms. The calculations take into account of the volume and mass of the wood, as well as the mass of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere while the wood is in service.

The Wood Utility Pole & Crossarm Calculator is available in an online version or as a downloadable Excel-based calculator. It calculates the volume and mass of the wood, as well as the mass of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere for a utility's inventory of wood utility poles and crossarms.

The calculator allows utilities to determine the amount of carbon residing in their inventory of poles and crossarms. The number of utility poles can be entered using pull-down selections for the class and length based on the standard ANSI pole sizes. Crossarm data is entered by its actual dimensions. Up to 30 different sizes of poles can be entered.

The calculator automatically determines the total volume and mass of the wood, the mass of carbon in Imperial and metric tons and the mass of carbon dioxide removed by using wood. The data can be entered into the online EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator that can convert carbon data into real world examples of the environmental benefits, such as miles driven by an automobile or barrels of oil consumed.

Click here to download the calculator and Technical Bulletin.

New video series explains national wood pole standards

NtlStd-1A detailed overview of the national standards that guide the design and use of wood utility poles is now available in a special three-part video series.

The National Wood Pole Standards video series is an expanded version the most downloaded technical document on the website. Commentary is provided by Nelson Bingel, chair of the ASC O5 Committee, which oversees pole standards. Bingel also chairs the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC).

Each video is between 16 and 19 minutes long. Part 1 reviews the standards guiding the production and use of wood utility poles, the scope of those standards and the unique strengths and loading for wood poles. Part 2 discusses wood pole species, applied loads, pole circumferences, and groundline and height stresses. Part 3 reviews the NESC, grades of construction, transverse loading and other design factors.

The videos can be played in preview window on your computer. There are also links to view the videos on YouTube.

Click on play to learn more about wood pole standards.




Energize your community outreach with customized coloring book

ColorBookUtilities can get an assist in expanding their community affairs activities and communicating important safety information on overhead lines with a special low-cost, customized coloring book.

The 16-page book Electricity from Tree to Me is designed for children from kindergarten through elementary school. It explains how wood utility poles are made from sustainable and renewable trees and includes important safety messages for about overhead lines, including what to do if lines are on the ground.

The book is designed to be customized with utility information on the inside cover page and the back cover. The pages can feature colored artwork, such as a utility or company logo, so it can be integrated into utility community affairs programs.

Utility specific coloring books can be ordered for about $1 each for 1,000 copies or more. Quantities of 500 and 750 are also available at a discounted price.

Click here to learn more about the coloring book.