Wood poles installed 50 years ago during the expansion and electrification across Ontario, Canada are now approaching end of life. To help ensure reliability and public safety, Hydro One crews are replacing 11,000 wood poles across the 122,000 km system.
"This $82 million investment is part of an ongoing program to continually assess the condition of our power system and make significant upgrades to maintain overall reliability," said Carm Marcello, president and CEO, Hydro One. "This work is a reflection of Hydro One's proactive approach to monitoring and improving our distribution system to deliver value to our 1.3 million customers.”
Hydro One's large, mostly rural service territory means that it has more than one pole per customer, compared to service territories with customers closer together that have many customers served by a single pole.
The poles slated for replacement were identified through Hydro One's pole testing and assessment program. All power lines, poles and related equipment owned and operated by Hydro One are inspected periodically to identify any potential problems so that they can be corrected without causing an unplanned power interruption. Over time, pole quality can be affected by decay and rot, insect and rodent damage or mechanical impact. Wood poles that are in need of replacement are more susceptible to damage from strong winds and severe storms.
Wood poles that need to be replaced during an unplanned outage as a result of a failure can take substantially more time to replace and can leave customers in the dark when they most need to use electricity. With 1.6 million wood poles in Hydro One's distribution system across Ontario, more than 340,000 will need to be replaced in the next 10 years. The average life span of a wood pole is approximately 60 years.