Preservative-Treated Wood Poles
Engineered by Nature. Enhanced by Technology.

Welcome to the North American Wood Pole Council website. NAWPC is an independent council representing the producers of wood poles and crossarms in North America. The Council is supported by member companies from the Western Wood Preservers Institute, Southern Pressure Treaters' Association and Wood Preservation Canada.

What's New

Plan to attend Powerline 2020 utility conference set for June 2-3

Utilities can get new perspectives on overhead systems, including wood poles, at the Powerline 2020 Overhead Conference, scheduled for June 2-3 on the campus of Mississippi State University.

PL_2020The two-day conference follows up on a successful 2019 session, which brought utilities, suppliers and others involved in overhead systems together to review current issues. The conference features insights on wood pole quality and design, service life, maintenance and remediation, and system resiliency.

The conference is sponsored by NAWPC and the Mississippi State Department of Sustainable Bioproducts. It will be held on the university campus in Starkville, Miss.

Powerline 2020 will be beneficial for utility personnel at all levels who are involved with design, purchasing, installation, management and maintenance of the electrical distribution and transmission systems.

In addition to classroom presentations, the conference features a field visit to the Mississippi State High Voltage Laboratory, the largest university operated high voltage lab in North America. Laboratory demonstrations will include what happens when objects come in contact with lines.

Each registered attendee will receive a certificate of completion for 12 hours of instruction, which can be used to qualify for Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits.

Registration for Powerline 2020 will open in late January. Cost is $250 per attendee. Each attendee will receive digital versions of the presentations and NAWPC technical guides and a copy of ANSI O5.1-2017 Wood Poles, Specifications and Dimensions.

Click here to see more on Powerline 2020.

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.

Customizable coloring book highlights wood utility poles, safety

ColorBookUtilities can get an assist in expanding their community affairs activities and communicating important safety information on overhead lines with a new, customizable 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.

NAWPC has created a companion Teacher's Lesson Plan for teachers who want to use the coloring book in the classroom. The lesson plan provides learning objectives and suggestions for classroom discussions to engage students.

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. Click here for information on how to order customized coloring books for your utility.

Custom color books are available for less than a dollar each for 1,000 or more copies. Quantities of 500 and 750 copies are also available at discounted prices.

Click here to review the coloring book.




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.


Learn more about wood pole standards

Understanding national wood pole standards and how they apply in designing overhead electrical systems are critical for utilities. A new presentation National Wood Poles Standards helps create that understanding with an overview of the standards process and basic wood pole design information.

The presentation was developed by Nelson Bingel, chairman of the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC).

Click here to review the presentation slides.