The Pitfalls of Managing Utility Pole Transfers in Joint Use

Posted by Ashley Little on February 10, 2014

utility_pole_transfersFrom time to time, utility poles need to be replaced. When that happens, a pole transfer is scheduled. The issue with this is that most utility poles are joint use assets utilized by a variety of companies. Different companies place attachments on the same utility pole. Therefore, Transfer Notices must be sent to all the companies who have equipment placed on the pole (the attachers).

By a given date, all the attachments are moved from the old pole to the new one. Coordinating the equipment transfer 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 people simply forget. Whatever the reason, resolving these issues and making sure the transfer is completed is the responsibility of the pole owner.

Double Poles or “Doublewood”

When a pole transfer is not completed, it leads to a double pole. 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 country double poles are languishing around your town. 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 otherwise no longer structurally sound. If the pole is still being used to hold up some attachments, there is a real chance it can fail suddenly, causing outages and possible damage to the surrounding area. As the pole owner, you are liable for any damage.

Joint Use Notification Systems

To avoid double poles and the problems they cause, pole transfers must go as planned and all attaching companies move equipment in a timely manner. The most efficient way of managing double poles and clearing (and preventing) backlogs is with a joint use utility pole notification system.

A joint use notification system keeps you in constant contact with all of your partner companies (the attachers on your poles.) With a system in place, you can quickly inform appropriate contacts of upcoming pole transfers. A joint use notification 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. Schedule automatic follow-up messages to those remaining companies to make sure they actually received the Transfer Notice and/or remind them to check the status of the transfer.

Clear communication between all parties throughout the transfer process enables you to ensure that transfers go smoothly and fosters trust, which is essential in any business relationship. A joint use system empowers people to take action to keep transfers, or any type of work request, on track.

With a good notification system, however, you can streamline and greatly simplify your joint use management process. Having a centralized system geared toward joint use will allow you to avoid double poles and the other pitfalls of managing joint use pole transfers. Create specific workflows that adhere to your business requirements and keep everyone involved on track as the project progresses, using alerts and reminders. A notification system makes things easier, faster, safer, and more efficient for everyone involved.

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