As utilities continue to look for new ways to keep the power on during severe weather, reports find that the total number of minutes customers are without power each year has been increasing over time. In the most comprehensive analysis of electricity reliability trends in the United States, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Stanford University finds that severe weather events are linked to a 5-10% increase in the total number of minutes customers are without power each year.
The culprit, according to Trident Industries, continues to be the inability of wood poles to stand up to the force of winds coupled with snow, ice, sleet and freezing rain. Once again grid operators are tasked with answering questions from their customers as to why repair takes so long, and the answer continues to be the difficulty and time draining effects of needing to install new wood poles. Numerous utilities have improved their Emergency Preparedness Programs by turning to composite poles and Trident Industries for assistance in strengthening and hardening their distribution systems. Trident Industries, the leading manufacturer of composite utility poles for utility transmission and distribution, offers significant advantages over traditional materials like wood, steel, and concrete.
“Utilities face significant challenges following major weather events such as thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, and fires,” commented Peter Ceko, CEO of Trident Industries. “In order to safely and quickly restore power to residential and commercial customers following these events, more and more utilities are utilizing Trident products.” Surveys among utility linesmen who have worked with Trident poles have shown that it takes approximately half the time to install composite poles compared to competing materials.
The report, “Assessing Changes in the Reliability of the U.S. Electric Power System,” analyzed reports for a large cross-section of utilities representing nearly 70 percent of U.S. electricity customers spanning 13 years from 2000 to 2012. Researchers pinpointed what utilities and their regulators refer to as “major events,” or events generally related to severe weather, as the principal driver for the increase.
The superior strength and wind tolerance of Trident poles have made it a perfect application for storm hardening.