Potential Pitfalls of Managing Joint Use Utility Pole Transfers

Posted by Ashley Little on January 25, 2014

pitfalls_utility_pole_transfersUtility pole transfers occur for a number of reasons. A pole can be damaged in a storm or a vehicular accident can occur which necessitates a new pole to be put in its place. A pole can be discovered to have rot or decay due to age and need to be replaced. Old poles that no longer meet guidelines regarding strength or height may be replaced in order to abide by new regulations. Each of these situations require the equipment and cables attached to the existing pole to be transferred to the new utility poles. This can be a complicated process due to the fact that joint use utility poles often have many different companies, each with their own equipment and cables, attached to a pole. When the transfer process is not completed properly, what often results are two utility poles in the same immediate location with some equipment and cables attached to one, and some attached to the other. This is called a double pole or doublewood. It can be a frustrating and dangerous situation for the public, and a costly one for utility pole owners. There are, however, steps that can be taken to avoid double poles and transfer backlogs.

Pitfall #1: Notifying Joint Use Partners

In order for joint use partners, your attachers, to transfer their equipment from the old pole to the new, they each need to be notified via a Transfer Notice. It may sound like an obvious and simple step in the process with little potential for problems, but it has its own complications. First, in order for all joint use partners to be properly notified, the pole owner must have an accurate account of all companies that are attached to the pole. Asset inventory data must be up-to-date. Additionally, the joint use partners need not only to be notified of the fact that they must transfer their equipment, but when to transfer their equipment. Generally, the power equipment at the top of a pole is transferred first, followed by equipment below it, and then below that, so companies must be notified to begin their transfer.. 

Pitfall #2: Monitoring the Transfer Status

Utility pole owners are well-advised to monitor the entire transfer process for many reasons. First, pole owners need to know when each company has completed transferring their equipment (and make sure all entities on the pole received the notice to transfer equipment). Additionally, there may be legal time parameters regulating the transfer process. Monitoring work status per pole per job allows pole owners to ensure they and their attachers are complying with such parameters in order to avoid fines and penalties associated with violations.

Pitfall #3: Removing the Old Utility Pole

When all entities on a utility pole have transferred equipment to the new pole, the old pole must be removed, and it too should be removed in a timely manner in order to avoid penalties and unsightly and even potential dangerous, double poles.

Online joint use management systems, with easy access to pole attachment records, visibility to active pole transfers, and web-based communication channels, will enable your company to efficiently facilitate pole transfers and avoid all of these pitfalls.

Joint Use Asset Management Basics