Central Maine Power Company (CMP), a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, has installed its first concrete utility pole. The new pole, set in the coastal community of Harpswell last month, is being evaluated as part of a larger initiative to enhance the reliability of CMP’s electric distribution system. Other elements of that program — including more frequent line inspections, equipment upgrades, and a five-year tree trimming cycle — have been in place for the past five years.
Concrete utility poles have a strong track record for their ability to withstand wind, ice, heavy snow, and other harsh conditions, and could potentially help CMP to enhance system reliability, according to Joe Purington, director of Electric Distribution at CMP.
“Concrete poles have been used extensively in the southeast and in Ontario,” said Purington. “They have a lifetime warranty, require no maintenance, and offer excellent resiliency in all weather conditions, so we thought it was time to give them a try here.”
The poles being evaluated at CMP and its affiliates in New York are built by StressCrete Group, (http://stresscretegroup.com) which has operations in Alabama, Kansas, and Ohio in the U.S., and Ontario in Canada. They can be manufactured according to a utility’s own specifications, and their steel-reinforced spun concrete construction makes them particularly durable. Many of the poles set in Canada during the 1950s are still standing, according to StressCrete representatives.
“We will watch the performance of this pole over time to see how well it stands up to the elements,” says Purington. “Future installations will likely depend on broad range of factors, but certainly these poles are worth looking at, considering the harsh weather we experience in our service area.”