As is the case with most electric utilities, Victory Electric uses wooden poles. Even though the poles are initially treated to resist decay, over time all wooden poles will deteriorate and ultimately need to be replaced. The decay rate varies depending upon soil type, moisture levels, temperatures, and the type of wood the pole is derived from.
To help maintain system reliability, a sample of Victory Electric’s power poles is tested periodically, just as Sundance Power Pole Inspections, a contractor for Victory Electric, completed in September and October. The pole inspection process involved a visual inspection of poles in which they searched for significant cracks, signs of termite and carpenter ant activity, or other defects that may result in pole failure and/or rejections.
While a visual inspection is valuable and essential in evaluating the overall condition of the pole, any internal decay below the ground line would go undetected if not for our pole inspections. The majority of decay in a wooden pole occurs in the first 18 inches below the ground line. Inspectors then complete a sound and bore test of the pole, where they expose the pole below the ground line, bore the pole at an angle in two different locations, determine the size of the decayed pocket below the ground line and sound the pole above the ground line with a hammer observing if the decayed pocket extends above the ground line.
In addition to pole inspection, the inspectors also replaced broken or missing guy guards and fixed broken pole grounds. By regularly testing and inspecting electric pole integrity and strength, Victory Electric lowers total risk and increases the reliability and safety of our electric system. It also helps ensure the poles are safe and any problems can be addressed before the poles break.
Once the inspection was complete, Victory Electric crews began the process of replacing any poles and infrastructure identified in the testing as needing to be repaired or replaced. If the integrity and strength of a pole were compromised and considered dangerous, Victory Electric crews were notified to replace the pole(s) immediately.