2018 Operational Best Practices for Wood Utility Poles
March 6-7, 2018
Providence, RI

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Always in plain view, but not always noticed, wood utility poles have been the backbone of the electric distribution system since the mid-19th century with the installation of the telegraph system. Today, with new technology, standards, and materials, it is getting increasingly difficult for utilities to determine what is best for not only their company, but most importantly, their customers.

Please join us for our 2nd annual conference on wood utility poles. The focus of this conference is to educate pole owners on a wide range of best practices regarding their assets. Utility representatives will share their insight on topics including asset management, especially pertaining to coordination between telecommunication companies and third party attachers, training and recruiting new linemen, as well as their experiences involving natural disaster response. The program will also provide industry experts insights on how to best manage assets while saving on costs. Osmose and Cox Industries focus on the importance of asset management and pole disposal programs that save pole owners time and money. This conference is intended to provide pole owners with an unbiased look at what the future holds for wood utility poles and how to manage their current systems.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss the various disposal practices in use today
  • Review the new standards on pole attachments
  • Identify best practices for recruiting and training new lineman
  • Describe how to prepare for a disaster
  • Identify pole inspection methods
  • Recognize the future challenges of wood pole disposal



EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.9 CEUs for this event.


Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must sign in/out each day, be in attendance for the entirety of the course

Instructional Methods

Case Studies and PowerPoint presentations will be used at this event.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:15 a.m. :: Methods of Pole Treatment during Manufacturing

Discuss how wood poles are selected from the forest, manufactured, and treated in North America. Review the preservative treatment process, and preservatives used for utility poles today and for future use.

Kevin Ragon, Executive Director, Southern Pressure Treaters’ Association

9:15 -10:00 a.m. :: Wood Utility Poles: How Long Do They Last?

Wood poles are designed to remain in service for decades. The length of the service life of a pole depends on many factors. It is also possible to extend this life through inspection and remediation. This presentation will review studies on wood pole service life, the benefits of remediation and an overview of environmental/economic impacts of wood and alternative materials for poles.

-Butch Bernhardt, Senior Program Manager at Western Wood Preservers Institute

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. :: Morning  Break

10:15 – 11:00 a.m. :: Distribution Wood Pole Asset Management Coordination Between Telecom and Electric Utilities

This session will provide an overview of asset management coordination activities between telecom and electric utilities with regard to distribution wood poles.  Some items to be covered in this session include engineering standards, joint ownership/use, engineering/siting responsibilities, construction techniques, inspection/maintenance, and emergency replacement of distribution wood poles with a specific focus on the coordination of these activities between telecom and electric utilities.  The experiences of Eversource Energy will be used to highlight examples of these asset management activities.

Lauren Gaunt, Principal Engineer, Eversource Energy

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Wood Pole In-service Inspection and Maintenance Programs

This presentation will provide information on in-service inspection and maintenance along with the financial justification of funding a comprehensive Wood Pole Maintenance Program.  Residual pole strength is only one indicator for accessing pole health.  What this presentation will discuss is the macano-probabilistic approach for accessing the durability of the overhead system over multiple Inspection and treatment cycles.

Brent Elton, President, Genics Inc.

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

1:00 – 1:45 p.m. :: Utility Pole Fire Mitigation

The presentation will discuss some of the contributing factors to the increased number of fire related incidents to utilities in recent years. The speaker will also evaluate  cost perspective associated with fire damage including pole replacement and the loss of revenue. As well as a review of some of the actions taken and options available to help mitigate the effects of utility pole fires and their effect on the grid.

Tim Carey, Product Manager, Lonza Wood Protection, Inc.

 1:45 – 2:30 p.m. :: Undergrounding Power Systems

Repeated studies have demonstrated that undergrounding overhead power systems is not cost effective.  However, some jurisdictions, notably the District of Columbia is working on undergrounding projects.  This presentation will discuss drivers of the undergrounding project, partnership between the City Government and the local utility, and methods used for undergrounding.

Kevin Mara, Vice President, Hi-Line Engineering

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

2:45 – 3:30 p.m. :: Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Pole Inspections

UAVs are a technology that has created a lot of interest for utilities. With over 40% of the nation’s distribution lines and average density of just over 7 customers/mile, cooperatives have a keen interest the use of UAVs for line inspection and patrol. Learn about some of the ideas being tried and where things may be heading.

Brian Sloboda, Program and Product Line Manager-Energy Utilization/Delivery/Energy Efficiency, NRECA

3:30 – 4:15 p.m. :: Training and Recruiting Lineman

Where will the next generation of Electrical Lineworkers come from?  Our industry is in a significant predicament with the aging work force with seasoned and highly skilled workers preparing for retirement, and leaving the trade.  Karl Douglas is a Manager of Regional Operations from Eversource Energy, and has been an integral part of searching for innovative ways to attract younger workers into the profession.  In early 2017, Eversource partnered with the IBEW and Manchester Community College to launch a Lineworker Certificate Program designed to attract younger workers into the trade.  There is an enormous need for younger workers throughout the industry, and this very successful program has already paid dividends by placing prospective Lineworkers into the trade.

Karl Douglas, Manager of Regional Operations, Eversource Energy

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:30- 9:15 a.m. :: Critical Moments for Electric Utilities: Preparing for and Responding to Emergency Events

This interactive session will focus on the most crucial function of electric service providers, how to get the power back on as quickly as possible following storms and other emergency events.  Using case studies and sharing information from the presenter’s 30 years of experience in this field, this session will explore the role that we all play in this vital function, as well as a look at what we can expect to see in the near future.  Come prepared to not only learn about best practices in the industry, but also to share your insights and experience!

Jim Salmon, VP Utility Relations, Holland Power Services

9:15 – 10:00 a.m. :: Eversource Energy Line Extension Policies In Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts

This conference session will summarize, compare, and contrast the line extension policies of Eversource Energy subsidiaries in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.  Emphasis will be on the division of responsibilities between the electric and phone companies with regard to “Who sets the poles?” and “Who trims the trees?”, the length of extensions at no cost to customers (if any), and an introduction to the tariffed costs and customer contributions in aid of construction for line extensions in each of these subsidiaries.

Lauren Gaunt, Principal Engineer, Eversource Energy

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:15 – 11:00 a.m. :: Wildlife and Power Lines: Preventing Outages

Animal-caused outages are a persistent threat to electric system reliability. Animals cause nearly one in ten outages, and annual costs to electric utilities are conservatively estimated to be $45 million or more. Utilities may also face significant fines for bird electrocutions. This presentation will address common animal outage problems and solutions which are designed to last. Common animal protection misapplications will be covered, as well as legal liabilities.

Rick Harness, Certified Wildlife Biologist, EDM International, Inc.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Overview of Future Challenges of Wood Pole Disposal

Developing a thoughtful approach to the proper disposal of wood utility poles requires an understanding of pole manufacturing processes, regulatory compliance requirements, available disposal options and their probable costs, and company sustainability goals.  This presentation will discuss:

  • How utilities can integrate thinking on these topics to develop a long term strategic approach to pole disposal
  • The importance of considering pole disposal issues during the new pole purchasing process
  • How to achieve potential cost savings by taking a Total Lifecycle approach to new pole and disposal costs

Barry Breede, Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer, Cox Recovery


Butch Bernhardt, Senior Program Manager at Western Wood Preservers Institute

Barry Breede, Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer, Cox Recovery

Tim Carey, Product Manager, Lonza Wood Protection, Inc.

Karl Douglas, Manager of Regional Operations, Eversource Energy

Brent Elton, President, Genics Inc.

Lauren Gaunt, Principal Engineer, Eversource Energy

Rick Harness, Certified Wildlife Biologist, EDM International, Inc.

Kevin Mara, Vice President, Hi-Line Engineering

Kevin Ragon, Executive Director, Southern Pressure Treaters’ Association

Jim Salmon, VP Utility Relations, Holland Power Services

Brian Sloboda, Program and Product Line Manager-Energy Utilization/Delivery/Energy Efficiency, NRECA


Renaissance Providence Hotel
5 Ave of the Arts
Providence, RI 02903

To reserve your room, please call 1-866-630-0704
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.

Click here to book online

Room Rate:

The room rate is $189.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.

Room Block Dates:

A room block has been reserved for the nights of March 5 – 6, 2018.

Rate Available Until:

Make your reservations prior to February 9, 2018. There are a limited number of rooms available at the conference rate. Please make your reservations early.


EventStandard RateAttendees
Proceedings packageUS $ 295.00
Supporting Organization