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.

See real story on impact of wood poles on the environment

PoleEnviroExplore recent studies confirming that preservative migrating from preserved wood utility poles pose minimal risk to the environment or human health in a new Technical Bulletin.

The bulletin Preserved Wood Utility Poles and the Environment details the extensive research into how much preservative moves from utility poles over time and how it compares to federal standards and limits. The 12-page report details previous scientific research and recent studies by the Alaska Dept. of Transportation showing preservatives that do move stay within a few inches of the pole, posing minimal risk to groundwater, surrounding soil or wildlife.

Tables in the report provide context for wood preservative components released into the environment, showing natural background levels as well as EPA guidelines.

Find out more about the minimal risk wood utility poles pose to the environment.

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.

Outstanding overloading capacity of wood poles explored

TB_OverloadCapThe natural strength variations in wood poles can be a benefit for overhead systems facing extreme weather such as wind, snow and ice, according to a new NAWPC Technical Bulletin.

The bulletin Unique Overload Capacity of Wood Utility Poles details how natural variations and recognition of such variations in the National Electric Safety Code (NESC) allow wood poles to have a much greater overload capacity compared to poles made from alternative materials.

Wood poles are able to withstand a wider range of forces than concrete, steel and composites in extreme conditions. Alternative materials have a narrower strength range and once that range is exceeded, the materials often fail. Wood's wider range of strength allows for a greater chance of survivability under demanding forces.

Wood's strength variations are recognized in the NESC and can provide a way to better design hardened overhead systems rather than just switching pole materials. Since damage and outages from wind and hurricanes is often due to secondary causes such as flying debris, utilities may be best served by spending limited budgets on improving right-of-way clearances as opposed to buying more expensive alternatives such as steel and composite poles.

Click here to review the Technical Bulletin.


Benefits of wood crossarms detailed

For as long as there have been wood poles, there have been wood crossarms. The often overlooked benefits of wood crossarms compared to alternative materials our outlined in a new publication Wood Crossarms: Six Overlooked Benefits from a Century of Performance.

The one-page technical sheet reviews the extensive performance record of wood crossarms, which can be found throughout North America. Wood crossarms are a vital component that carry wires and other equipment to bring electricity to the continent.

Common misperceptions, such as wood crossarms are heavier, are explored in the sheet. It also notes that alternative materials are often three to four times more expensive than wood for crossarms that are functionally equivalent.

Click here to review the crossarm publication.




Discover high cost of hiding power lines

Hiding power lines underground is significantly more expensive than using overhead systems, potentially costing utility customers millions of dollars. The high cost of going underground and other potential issues with burying lines are explored in a new Technical Bulletin Undergrounding: Hidden Lines, Hidden Costs.

The new bulletin reviews government studies that show moving lines underground cost as much as 10 to 20 times more than overhead systems using utility poles. It also explores the supposed improved reliability of underground systems and the potential safety issues when such systems fail.

Click here to review the Technical Bulletin.


Fallacy of "wood equivalent" poles exposed

The misleading claims that steel, concrete and fiberglass poles can be substituted as "equivalent" to wood poles are explored in a new Technical Bulletin. The bulletin, "Wood Equivalent" Utility Poles and the NESC, details wood's unique structural properties that are recognized in the NESC.

The bulletin notes there is no universally universally applicable “wood equivalent” pole made from steel, prestressed concrete, fiber-reinforced polymer, or other nonwood material because of the differences in relative strengths inherent in poles manufactured of different materials by different methods.

Click here to review the Technical Bulletin.