UI to inspect, replace utility poles

An old and new United Illuminating utility pole on Orange St. in New Haven. (WTNH / Jeff Bailey)
An old and new United Illuminating utility pole on Orange St. in New Haven. (WTNH / Jeff Bailey)

ORANGE, Conn. (WTNH) — The United Illuminating Company has started a pole inspection program, and will fix and in some cases, replace 140,000 utility poles over the next six years.

The plan is to check each pole to make sure that all of them have UI lines and equipment, which will help maintain the reliability of UI customer’s electric service, and to reduce vulnerability during storms and other extreme events.

Inspectors started out in Hamden last month, identifying utility poles that need to be fixed, replaced or overhead infrastructure repairs. They will then move into Woodbridge and New Haven and will work their way across 17 cities and towns UI serves.

“Inspectors will visually inspect each pole and the overhead system that connects to it,” said John Mitchell, manager of system maintenance at UI. “They’ll also ‘sound’ the pole with hammers to detect rot or hollow pockets caused by insects, and perform simple maintenance tasks, such as re-stenciling pole ID numbers.”

Older poles often get decay at the ground line. Typically, between 2.5 and 3 percent of poles inspected require replacement, Mitchell said.

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