Service Life

Service Life and Performance of Wood Poles


As a key component in the North American electrical infrastructure, wood poles and their expected service life is an important consideration for utilities, regulators and others. Fortunately, wood poles have an extensive documented history of service in the most demanding conditions.

Depending on the environment and other factors, wood poles can last on average for some 50 years. In some locations, wood poles have remained in service for as long as 70 years or more. Factors that can impact a wood pole's service life include weather and maintenance of poles in service.

Explore the impressive service record of wood poles, the impacts of fire and severe weather on poles as well as long-term performance issues with other materials.


Service Life and Performance

ServiceLife UPDATED! Technical Bulletin - Estimated Service Life of Wood Poles
Overview of the actual service life of wood poles in use, which is often much longer than what is assumed by utilities and others.
8 pages, 03/16
Technical Library Sources 10 Features About the Extraordinary Wood Pole
10 reasons why wood poles remain the top choice for utilities across the country.
2 pages, 05/14
PoleFire Performance of Utility Poles in Wildland Fires
Review of research on the performance of wood and steel utility poles in wildland fire hazard areas.
12 pages, 05/14
CRS Weather-Related Power Outages and System Resiliancy
Congressional Research Service report on weather-related outages, the economic cost of such outages and recommendations on minimizing power disruptions.
18 pages, 08/12
SteelFail Steel Poles Recalled After Failures
A U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission order to recall steel poles used for stadium lighting due to 11 instances of failure.
4 pages, 07/10
Kentucky Hurricane Ike and Ice
Kentucky Public Service Commission report on impacts of a hurricane and the worst ice storm in state history on the power grid in the state.
178 pages, 11/09