Pole inspection and maintenance program
Puget Sound Energy reliability project
- 2020 (YTD): Completed 28,659 distribution and 6,150 transmission pole inspections, and reinforced 642 poles across ten different county areas. PSE is now utilizing drones to survey transmission line power poles throughout our electric service territory to supplement the program.
- 2019: Completed 29,284 distribution and 2,684 transmission pole inspections, and reinforced 730 poles across ten different county areas.
- 2018: Completed 30,000 distribution and 2,000 transmission pole inspections across eight different county areas.
- 2017: Completed 19,642 pole inspections across eight different county areas.
To ensure continued safety and electric system reliability, PSE regularly conducts inspections and testing on power poles across our service area. These inspections evaluate pole strength, safety and electric service reliability. Following inspection, pole treatment or reinforcement may be necessary to extend the life of the pole.
PSE conducts pole inspections primarily using routine on-the-ground inspections. We’ve also started using drone technology for transmission pole inspections in some areas.
Routine on-the-ground inspections:
Crews from Osmose Utilities, Inc. are conducting the routine inspections and testing on power poles across PSE’s service area. Osmose technicians are under contract with PSE and are authorized to perform pole inspection, treatment and reinforcement services. All Osmose technicians carry photo identification and this PSE letter of authorization. When performing pole inspections, they will drive service vehicles with the Osmose logo on the vehicle doors. For more information about Osmose, please visit osmoseutilities.com.
In addition to the routine on-the-ground inspections described above, PSE is now utilizing drones to survey transmission line power poles throughout our electric service territory as part of our power pole inspection and maintenance program. The data from these pole inspections will help inform engineering work, such as analyzing pole strength and electrical clearances from conductors.
PSE drone pilots are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and are authorized to perform this important work. Crews working on the drone surveys will carry photo identification and this letter of authorization while in the field.
Utility companies nationwide are implementing the use of drones in pole inspection programs. Drones allow crews to perform high-resolution inspections of power poles from the ground level, as well as provide visual access to power poles in hard-to-reach cross-country areas. Additionally, drones accelerate not only routine inspections, but allow for quicker diagnostics during storm events.
What property owners can expect
Routine on-the-ground inspections:
- When Osmose crews move into a new area, PSE will provide advanced courtesy notice to nearby residents and businesses via email. For poles on private property that require customer coordination, Osmose crews will leave a door notification at homes and businesses. The door notification will include a date range for when the work is expected to be completed.
- On the day the inspection will occur on your property, the crew will knock on your door before beginning the work.
- If you are not present and the pole(s) can be safely accessed without your assistance, the crew will proceed with the work at that time.
- If you are not present and the crew needs to work with you to gain safe access to the pole(s), a representative from PSE will connect with you to discuss access details.
- The work is expected to take about 30 minutes to complete and should not impact your electric service. It’s our goal to leave the work area in the same condition in which we find it.
While drones will be primarily used for transmission lines that are difficult to reach on foot as well as those in remote areas, they may still be visible to the general public during their operation. If drones will be deployed in highly populated areas, measures will be taken to inform customers in the surrounding area by either email or mail. Drone-related concerns may be directed to the PSE program manager:
Thank you for your patience during this important maintenance work. It’s our goal to complete the work as quickly and efficiently as possible, while minimizing disruptions to your neighborhood.
For more information