Adapting to Changes in the Joint Use Utility Pole Industry

Posted by Ashley Little on January 13, 2014

adapting_to_changesA wise man once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” That wise man was Charles Darwin, and while he may have been referring to classes of animals, the same idea can be applied to organizations. For an organization to do well over time, and “survive,” it must adapt. Some business owners have not only have a hard time adjusting to change, but can be reluctant to it, especially when it comes to new technology. In an age when new technologies (and with them, the standards for conducting business) are changing rapidly, it is crucial for businesses to embrace change, and the transitions that come with it.

For utility pole owners, it is becoming difficult to resist change, because so much has changed in the industry itself. Years ago, utility poles generally held a power cable at the top and a telephone cable below. Today, you may see two or three cable television attachments, municipal street light attachments and cellular network antennas in addition to power and telephone equipment. Add to that the fact that many states have implemented regulations regarding pole inspections, attachment requests and permissions, as well as joint use communication, it is easy to see the necessity for businesses to properly adjust to these external changes by implementing their own changes internally.

Tips to help joint use utility pole owners prosper in a world of change

Enhanced Communication

Along with multiple attachment requests, pole transfer notifications, and maintenance projects comes the need to effectively communicate with all parties involved. Communication systems allow pole owners to facilitate the work needed on utility poles, such as the transfer of attachments to new poles when old poles need replacing. Newer online systems can also track shared information in addition to merely storing it, which is critical in modern times when legal liability situations arise.

Utility Pole Inspections

Utility pole inspections have gotten more sophisticated thanks to new technology. Sound and prod testing is a traditional method used that involves sounding the pole with a hammer and probing it with a screwdriver to detect arrears of decay above the ground. There are new technologies, however, that allow you to inspect the base of a pole below ground level, where most decay is likely to occur, without having to excavate the soil surrounding it.

Paperless Systems

If a utility pole owner has another company attaching equipment to their pole, they are likely to have attachment requests, written negotiations and agreements with the company, information about their specific equipment, pole transfer and maintenance information, etc. All of this material used to have to be presented, shared and stored on paper. Today, computers and the Internet allow us to put all of this information online. A paperless software system is easier to manage, plus it reduces paper costs in addition to the biggest savings of all – a company’s ecological footprint.