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Vol. 66 Number 2


News orthwestern Electric December 2015 Why electric co-ops replace utility poles By Abby Berry Y


ou probably don’t pay much attention to the utility poles found throughout Northwestern Electric’s service territory, but did you know these tall structures are the backbone of our distri- bution network?


Strong, sturdy utility poles ensure a reliable elec- tric system, which is why we routinely inspect the thousands of poles found on our lines. Throughout the year, our crews check poles for decay caused by exposure to the elements. They know which poles are oldest and conduct inspections through a rotational process. Typically, a standard wooden distribution pole is expected to last more than 50 years.


Occasionally, poles need to be replaced for other reasons besides decay and old age. Weather disasters, power line relocation and car crashes are potential causes for immediate replacement. When possible, Northwestern Electric communicates when and where pole replacements will take place so that you stay informed of where crews will be working. (2981010)


Here is a quick breakdown of how crews replace a utility pole:


When a pole needs to be replaced, crews will start the process by digging a hole. The depth of the hole must be 15 percent of the new pole’s height. Next, the new pole must be fitted with bolts, cross arms, insulators, ground wires and arm braces – all of the necessary parts for delivering safe and reliable electricity. Then, crews safely detach the power lines from the old pole.


Northwestern Electric will close December 24 and 25, and again on January 1 in observance of the holidays. In case of an outage, call our 24 hour hotline: 877.966.7693.


The new pole is then raised and guided carefully into position, and the lines are attached, leaving the new pole to do its job.


So, the next time you come across a Northwest- ern Electric crew replacing a pole, use caution and know that this process ensures a more reliable electric system for you, our members. Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for- profit electric cooperatives.


Inside


Whitehead retires .........2 Director filing period ....3 Season to give ..............3 Recipe ............................3 Director nominations ...4


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