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NYSEG Installs First Concrete Utility Poles as Part of Program to Enhance Grid Reliability

Rochester, NY – NYSEG, a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, has installed its first concrete utility poles. 

The new poles were set in the Town of Patterson (Putnam County) and Town of Bethel (Sullivan County) earlier this month. NYSEG will assess their performance and determine if the poles can enhance the reliability of the electricity delivery system. Concrete utility poles can last for 50 years or more. They require no maintenance, will neither rot nor decay, and have a strong record of withstanding wind, ice, heavy snow and other harsh conditions.

“Concrete poles have been used extensively in the southeast and in Ontario, especially for transmission systems,” said Mark S. Lynch, president of NYSEG and RG&E. “Given the harsh weather that has become more prevalent here, it is time to look at concrete poles as an element in ‘hardening’ our system even at the distribution level.”

Lynch said future use would depend on a range of factors including ease of installation, durability and cost versus benefits.
The poles are fabricated by StressCrete Group, which has operations in Alabama, Kansas and Ohio as well as Ontario, Canada. The steel-reinforced spun concrete poles can be manufactured to meet a utility’s specifications, and many of the poles set in Canada during the 1950s are still standing, according to StressCrete.

NYSEG plans to improve its electricity delivery system in areas where winds typically cause severe damage. The improvements may include stronger poles, shorter wire spans, increased tree pruning and changing to insulated conductor or bundled conductors to improve the resiliency and reliability of the system.

NYSEG is working to further automate its electricity delivery system and make it smarter. For example, remote control technology is being added to protective devices to enable quicker response to outages. Additional automated reclosers will reduce the number of customers affected by an incident and enable quicker service restoration.