has been caused by animals and put
into place appropriate prevention methods. By proactively performing these
check-ups, personnel can avoid costly
unplanned downtime by anticipating
issues that are likely to occur. Individuals
conducting these assessments should be
on the lookout for droppings, nests or
other signs that equipment is inhabited.
Assessments can also give personnel
an idea of when electrical equipment
should be upgraded to improve the
reliability of a power system.
From tripping circuits to chewing
power lines to causing major power outages, animals can do more damage than
many might realize. Protecting against
animal infestations with regular system
assessments and maintenance are steps
in the right direction for keeping electrical equipment up and running.
and debris will accumulate, making
electrical environments a less-than-ideal habitat for critters.
• Seal and protect electrical equipment
cracks or crevices. Small animals like
mice and squirrels can enter through
openings that are the width of a finger,
with insects being able to get in through
even smaller spaces. By restricting the
size of openings and properly sealing conduits, vermin, rodents and
other creatures should have a harder
time getting into electrical enclosures.
Insulating the conductors by upgrading
outdoor equipment with silicone boots
and tape can also help.
• Perform routine maintenance. Ensuring
electrical equipment is up to date and
performing as it should be is critical.
Through regular maintenance, electri-
cal personnel can identify damage that
that can cause electrical equipment dam-
age while they search for food. In north-
eastern Alberta, Canada, bears have been
seen climbing onto transmission towers,
typically hunting for bird eggs.
Various animals are responsible for
causing power trips, outages and other
disturbances, making it necessary for
facility and operation managers to ensure
they are protecting equipment from this
“unconventional” type of interference.
• Keep vegetation and trash at a min-
imum. Weeds, litter and other gar-
bage can attract pests. By keeping to
a regimented cleaning schedule and
reducing the traffic moving in and
out of the electrical room, less dirt
it beneficial to review aspects of pole
owner wood pole management pro-
grams. They could find answers to
questions like: What kind of sup-
plemental preservatives are incorpo-
rated? Are the costs of preservative
application capitalized? And, Does the
program result in lower overall costs
to consumers and retention of struc-
It’s important to emphasize the new
mantra: “Structural resiliency affects
system resiliency,” and “Data analysis
on effective pole management programs
point to a positive cost-benefit ratio. A
more comprehensive, proactive approach
goes to the heart of utilities’ traditional
mission: to provide electric power or
communications that is safe, affordable,
reliable and resilient.
To learn more about the NESC and related
products, visit: standards.ieee.org/nesc/.
fewer outages, faster restoration time
and a far lower cost of restoration.
It’s important to point out that, while
hurricanes provide a dramatic example,
weather phenomena such as ice storms,
which are nearly ubiquitous if unpredictable across the nation, can be just as
devastating. Such storms have wreaked
havoc in many states, leading state commissions to require improved pole management programs.
Action on findings such as those
discussed above fall to state regula-
tors and the utilities. In the wake of
various major weather events, regula-
tors in California, Florida, Kentucky,
Missouri and other states have estab-
lished more prescriptive pole man-
agement programs. Utility commis-
sions in additional states might find
management program of Utility A
included excavation and supplemental
treatment and achieved a 98 percent
efficacy for retaining structural resil-
iency. Utility B had a less rigorous
program that omitted effective sup-
plemental preservative treatments to
control decay and retain structural
resilience. The efficacy of this program
is rated significantly lower because
many more weakened poles remain
in-service and continue to decay.
As Figure 1 illustrates, Utility A replaced
152 poles following the event while
Utility B replaced 2,790; different by a
factor of 18. The restoration costs for
Utility B were 16 times higher than the
restoration costs of Utility A; $310
million vs. $20 million, resulting in a
factor of 16.
Figure 1 also shows that Utility A
had fewer weakened poles resulting in
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