2023 / Distribution

Poles and protected public water supply areas

Newfoundland Power’s operations sometimes require placing poles in protected public water supply areas. Untreated poles have been historically used in environmentally sensitive areas such as these to ensure pole treatments do not leech into water bodies. A treated pole would typically last up to 50 years, whereas an untreated pole has an expected lifespan of 15 to 20 years. Depending on soil and environmental conditions, an untreated pole may show signs of deterioration in 7 years.

In 2022 the company introduced two new environmentally friendly solutions to extend pole life in protected public water supply areas: composite poles and pole saver technology. One new solution saw high performance composite poles introduced when Newfoundland Power had to replace poles in the protected water supply area for the Town of Rose Blanche. This particular line is connected to one of the company’s key hydroelectric generation facilities. Composite poles do not absorb water so they are expected to last 80 years or more. The composite material can last four times as long as an untreated pole while providing the same environmental protection.

In another part of the province, working with the Provincial Government’s Water Resources Management group, the company outfitted untreated western red cedar poles with “pole-saver” in-ground pole wrap technology. These poles are located in a protected water supply area for the City of St. John’s. This technology is safe for use in protected water supply areas as it prevents leeching into water bodies. The wrapped poles also have a longer lifespan than an untreated pole, potentially doubling the life of the asset.

These solutions provide two new ways to protect public water sources, whilst also increasing the lifespan of Newfoundland Power’s infrastructure, helping the company to provide safe, reliable, electricity service at least-cost.

Newfoundland Power Inc.

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