KISSIMMEE, Fla., January 7, 2008 – Kissimmee Utility Authority has announced the completion of the first phase of its outsourced wood pole inspection program. The inspections are part of an effort by the utility to enhance the safety and reliability of its transmission and distribution facilities while providing a degree of storm resiliency.
In 2007, the utility contracted with Osmose Utilities Services, Inc. to perform the inspection of wood distribution poles on an eight-year cycle and wood transmission poles on a two-year cycle.
The inspections include a visual, sound and bore test for each pole. Inspection crews also capture digital images of each pole which are added to KUA’s existing geographic information system (GIS) database.
Of the 2,212 poles inspected in the first phase, 1,016 poles or 46 percent showed no signs of decay, 1,164 poles or 53 percent showed some level of decay and 12 poles or 0.5 percent were rejected and required replacement. Based on the outcome of the inspections, poles that were not replaced were either treated or reinforced.
The inspections are ongoing and the second phase should be completed by January 31.
Utility pole decay is very common in Florida because of the humid subtropical climate, a high water table and insects. The United States Department of Agriculture places the state of Florida in its highest decay severity zone.
KUA maintains 15,300 wood distribution poles and 340 wood transmission poles throughout its 85-square mile service area. All new transmission construction involves the use of concrete or steel poles for added stability.
Background on Pole Inspections
In 2006, the Florida Public Service Commission mandated regular pole inspections for investor-owned utilities and telephone companies, but made the inspections optional for municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives. As a municipal utility, KUA voluntarily adopted the inspection standards to ensure the highest level of reliability and customer confidence.
Founded in 1901, KUA (www.kua.com) is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility providing electric and telecommunication services to 170,000 residents in five Central Florida counties.
# # #
Chris M. Gent