Addressing concerns regarding the risk of wooden pole failure in storm events, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a comprehensive wooden pole inspection plan Tuesday for Embarq Florida, Inc. (Embarq).
“This plan is part of the larger effort to reduce the state’s vulnerability to hurricanes,” said Chairman Lisa Polak Edgar.
Under the plan approved by the Commission, Embarq will be responsible for inspecting all of its wooden poles at least once every eight years. Embarq must take corrective action on any poles found to be defective or not strong enough to carry their load. Trussing or bracing may be used in areas with greater pole decay due to environmental problems or bug infestation. Embarq maintains approximately 38,800 wood poles within its service area.
In a February 2006 order, the Commission required all of Florida’s incumbent local exchange companies (ILECs) to implement wood pole inspection programs based upon an eight-year cycle. Similar requirements were also made for Florida's investor-owned electric utilities.
The wooden pole inspection program is one of several measures taken to detect decay and help prevent structural failures of telecommunications and electric systems during storms. Other measures include an audit of joint-use attachment agreements, a transmission structure inspection program, and an analysis of pole failures after severe storms.