Preservative treated wood poles have carried power and communications to the public for more than a century and these poles will continue to serve society for decades to come. They have been used so long, in fact, that their amazing benefits are often overlooked or even forgotten.
Preserved wood poles combine exceptional inherent features, which have evolved in nature over millions of years, with the life-extending capability of wood preservation technology. And improvements continue to be made — in conditioning processes, enhanced preservative solutions, modern treating procedures, life-extending remedial treatments and streamlined delivery methods. This ensures that economical, durable, available wood poles and crossarms will be the choice of the future.
The performance of wood poles and the effectiveness of wood treatment are well established; they have been demonstrated to generations of utility engineers and building contractors for more than 100 years.
Wood poles also have an enviable tradition of a long service life. A review of utility records shows that, with a responsible maintenance program, wood pole replacement averages less than 4 percent per decade. So, excluding accidents and catastrophic natural events, a typical, maintained preserved wood pole can last 75 years or more.
Another advantage of preserved wood poles is in the industry's ability to respond to hurricanes, ice storms and other natural catastrophes. In all, industry has the capability to provide tens of thousands of poles in as little as three weeks. For example, after Hurricane Katrina, a total of 92,000 wood poles and 90,000 wood crossarms were delivered within four weeks of the storm’s passing. In the wake of Super Storm Sandy on the East Coast, the industry provided a total of 65,100 wood poles and 103,500 crossarms.
For more information on preserved wood utility poles, go to the North American Wood Pole Council (NAWPC) website, woodpoles.org