Putting power poles through their paces

In August 2022 members of the Powerco team travelled to Whangarei to put some power poles through their paces.

Using the facilities at pole manufacturer Busck Prestressed Concrete Ltd, the team conducted a series of controlled pole break tests on several different types of poles including softwood, hardwood, concrete and composite.

Overall, 25 poles were tested over a week. The testing was designed to see what weight, angles and stress a pole could support before failing. That data helps our Design teams to select appropriate power pole types for the conditions a pole will encounter when designing network projects.

The tests also checked whether poles break as they are designed to - in a safe and consistent way.

Powerco's Operations and Standards Engineer Thasegen Naidoo says the tests went without a hitch.

"The testing went really well. We set up multiple cameras to capture the testing, and we're really pleased with the amount of data the team collected," he says.

Testing the old...

Poles retired from the Powerco network were tested to provide more data about how different types of poles currently in use throughout the network perform. That helps the Asset Fleet Team to better-understand which existing poles may have reached end-of-life and be in need of replacement.

...and the new

The team also took the opportunity to test new poles to ensure they meet the AS/NZS 7000 standard before Powerco considers using them on its electricity network.

Collaborating with industry

Along with having the pole manufacturers on site to watch whether their poles performed to specification, representatives from Northpower and WEL Networks who use the same types of poles on their networks were also in attendance so they could learn along with the Powerco team - a great approach for the industry, and customers.


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