The Power of Pole Loading Analysis

The Power of Pole Loading Analysis: Anticipating the Impact of Pole Attachments and Resilience Challenges on Utility Infrastructure

September 16, 2021 | Online :: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Central Time


A utility pole is a structure that must be designed and built with multiple safety aspects in mind. Initial pole loading guidelines established by the electric utility engineering team ensures that a pole, when initially put into service, has sufficient strength to support the applied load.

However, over time more load is often applied to the structure as third-party entities request to attach to the pole. This can be a telecommunication company wanting to lash new fiber to existing cables. It could be the addition of new equipment such as small cell antennas and associated equipment for wireless networks.  As the number of requests for both wired and wireless communication attachments continue to accelerate, more and more jurisdictions and pole owners are applying greater scrutiny to the submitted pole loading analysis (PLA) and make-ready engineering (MRE). 

Furthermore, without effective life extension maintenance, the strength of the pole tends to decrease with the age of the pole. This is usually due to groundline decay of the wood pole, or perhaps mechanical damage to the pole that might occur from vehicles rubbing against the pole.

A flurry of hurricanes in the 2000’s and Superstorm Sandy in 2012 created a new focus on the term “Resiliency” related to overhead lines.  When power was not restored for up to two weeks in some cases, regulators decided it was time to measure the performance of overhead lines in major storm events.  Reliability metrics are based on Blue Sky or Grey Sky events and outages during major events were excluded. 

Resiliency is a measure of how well a system resists a major event and minimizes outages and how quickly services are restored.  There are many different aspects that affect the performance of the grid in major events but one that is often overlooked is Structural Resiliency.  The fewer weakened poles, the fewer outages, quicker restoration and lower the costs. 


Thursday, September 16, 2021 : Central Time

9:50 – 10:00 a.m.
Log In and Welcome

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Webinar Timing

  • Discuss how to apply the appropriate codes (NESC, GO95, and CSA) correctly. Discuss similarities and differences of the codes
  • Identify when and where to apply the code rules and understanding that it is critical to maintain proper safety factors
  • Discuss the multitude of clearance analysis rules is also necessary in delivering your MRE reports
  • The webinar will demonstrate the various code requirements and how to apply them correctly using O-Calc® Pro software
  • Structural resiliency as an integral part of system resiliency


Mike Rigney, Ph.D. is a Senior Project Manager at Osmose. He holds a BS in Physics from the University of Delaware and a MS and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of South Carolina. Mike has 28 years of experience in the industry integrating various software products and processes used by electric and telecommunication utilities. In his current role, he oversees O-Calc Pro product software releases in support of both external customer needs and internal technical service’s needs. [email protected]

Nelson Bingel has over 30 years of industry experience focused around structural aspects of overhead lines. He received a BSME degree from Purdue University and has worked on research and development of improved structure inspection processes and restoration systems along with software for field strength and loading evaluation. Nelson was Chairman of the Strength and Loading Subcommittee of the NESC for the last two code cycles and has been Chairman of the full NESC Committee since 2016. Nelson is also Vice-Chairman of the Accredited Standards Committee O5 which develops standards for new wood poles and crossarms. [email protected]


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