When a utility pole needs to be replaced, the pole owner will schedule the required equipment transfers. Many utility poles are joint use assets, where several different companies typically have attached equipment on the same pole. This means that transfer notices must be sent to all the companies who have equipment placed on the pole (the attachers) to require all the attachments be moved from the old pole to the new one within a certain timeframe.
The Risks of “Double Wood”
When a pole transfer is not completed, it creates a double pole situation. This is when two utility poles stand side by side. Some of the attachments have been transferred to the new pole, while a few still remain on the old one. All over the US, double poles are languishing. They are certainly unsightly, and many cities dislike them for that reason alone. More importantly, double poles can be dangerous. The old utility pole was replaced for a reason: it may have been cracked, rotted, or no longer structurally sound.
If the pole is still being used to hold up some attachments, there is a real chance it can fail, causing outages and possible damage to the surrounding area. Pole owners are liable for any damage.
Pole Transfer Challenges
Coordinating equipment transfers can prove difficult (remember, we are not dealing with one pole, but many.) Sometimes attachers never receive a transfer notice. Sometimes the notice goes to the wrong contact or in the trash. Sometimes contractors are tied up with other work.
Whatever the reason, resolving these issues and making sure the transfer is completed in a timely manner is the responsibility of the pole owner.
Get Help from an Asset Management System
To avoid double poles and the problems they cause, pole transfers must go as planned and all attaching companies must move equipment in a timely manner. The most efficient way of managing double poles, clearing, and preventing backlogs is to properly manage them from the beginning.
Software can help streamline and simplify the joint use management process. It can help you stay in constant contact with all of the attachers on your poles, and quickly inform appropriate contacts of upcoming pole transfers. It will allow you to create specific workflows that adhere to your business requirements and keep everyone involved on track as the project progresses, using alerts and reminders.
A joint use asset management system can also provide automatic status updates on all outstanding pole transfers, alerting you as to which companies have made the transfer and those that still need to transfer equipment. You can schedule automatic follow-up messages to those remaining companies to make sure they actually received the transfer notice, or remind them to check the status of the transfer.
Having a centralized repository geared specifically toward joint use helps you to be proactive, avoiding double poles and other pitfalls of managing joint use pole transfers. Clear communication between all parties throughout the transfer process also fosters trust between owners and attachers. A joint use system empowers people to keep transfers on track, and it makes things easier, faster, safer, and more efficient for everyone involved.
Considering software for managing your utility poles and other field assets? Get our checklist of “10 Must-Haves for Joint Use Management Software”.