Distribution poles are found throughout the region, along roads, across neighborhood yards, and through forests. Those poles bring power to homes and businesses, and are critical to keeping the system working properly.
Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative has an operation plan, and inspects the poles and lines on a regular basis.
If a pole needs to be replaced, crews do their best to keep members in service while lineworkers make the repair.
There are several reasons why poles need to be replaced:
- Weather events such as lightning, storms, and flooding can cause major and immediate damage.
- Car crashes, equipment changes, or line relocations spur the process.
- Poles may lose their strength after being subjected to the elements through the years.
It takes several linemen many steps to replace a pole.
First, crews must carefully measure and dig a hole— typically next to the old pole— about 15% of the new pole’s height. For example, a 35-foot pole requires a hole at least 5¼ feet deep.
Next, the new pole is fitted with bolts, crossarms, insulators, ground wires, and arm braces.
Crews carefully raise the pole and guide it into position. The new pole is backfilled and packed with soil. Groundmen tap around the pole to secure it in place.
Finally, electric lines are carefully moved and attached to the new pole’s insulators with tie wires or clamps.
Once all live lines are securely in place, crews detach equipment from the old pole and remove it, leaving the new pole to do its new job.
So, how many linemen does it take to change a pole? As many as needed to make sure you get safe, reliable power.