By - Jon Brown

Best Practices for Wood Pole Strength and Loading
November 12-13, 2019 | Denver, CO

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When it comes to wood utility pole strength and loading, the experts say, “know the code!”, the National Electric Safety Code or California’s General Order 95 that is. In the ever changing world of electric utility and telecommunication companies, knowing the codes, regulations, and best practices, is vital to not only keeping the power on, but to ensure the safety of linemen and the public. With the advent of 5G on the horizon, telecommunication and wireless companies are eager to attach additional equipment to utility poles, thus making it more important than ever for electric utility and telecommunication companies to know and follow the codes!

Pole strength capacities will be explained along with the loading criteria of the NESC and GO 95. An overview along with hands-on examples of basic pole loading calculations will help with understanding the important aspects and variables that impact how a pole is loaded. Variations of the third-party attachment processes around the country will be briefly explained and followed with an emphasis on the importance of wire and equipment clearances and the make ready process. Managing wood pole data including strength and loading details will also be discussed.

This symposium will include case studies from electric utility and telecommunication companies including their experiences with pole strength and loading, various software programs, and “best practices”. The goal of this program is to not only educate the attendees on the topic, but to also facilitate a discussion amongst the group to share their insights.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain ANSI O5.1 wood pole manufacturing and dimension standards
  • In-depth review of NESC strength and loading criteria along with an overview of GO 95 criteria
  • Comparisons of key NESC requirements to similar GO 95 requirements
  • Identify clearance basics
  • Discuss the process for third-party attachments
  • Comparisons of pole loading software programs
  • Discuss best practices for managing wood poles and the tremendous amount of related data
  • Discuss best practices for adding attachments to existing poles



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 1.1 CEUs for this event.

Requirements for a Successful Completion of Program

Participants must sign in/out each day and be in attendance for the entirety of course to be eligible for continuing education credit.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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

8:30 a.m. –  5:00 p.m. :: Symposium Timing

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

Wood Pole Management

  • Early electrical systems
  • Comparison of pole materials
  • Expectations for safety, reliability and resiliency
  • Effective asset management

Wood Pole Manufacturing and Strength

  • ANSI O5.1 – Dimensions and Specifications for Wood Pole manufacturing
  • AWPA – American Wood Protection Association standards for treating wood poles

Pole Loading Basics

  • Transverse, longitudinal and vertical Loading
  • Loading and strength formulas
  • Bending analysis
  • Buckling analysis
  • Linear and non-linear analysis
  • Deterministic and probabilistic
  • Load resistance factored design
  • Wire tensions
  • Grades of construction

NESC Loading & Strength Requirements

Wood Pole Decay & Strength loss

  • Bending vs. Buckling

Pole Loading and Pole Remediation Programs

A variety of inspection and in-service treatments are performed on wooden utility poles to ensure a strong and safe wood pole plant. Good inspection data is critical to any strength rating calculation and the aluminum inspection tag that is placed on the pole tells the basic history of what has, or has not, been done to qualify that pole as sound.  

This presentation will explore each of the currently available inspection techniques and uncover the ground-line area defects in wood poles that these inspections are designed to identify.  After inspection, a number of remedial wood preservative treatments are available to prolong the life of this valuable asset.   A summary of these treatments will inform the audience of their uses and benefits.  Finally, inspections can identify poles that might benefit from in-service reinforcement techniques.  The most common reinforcements will be reviewed.

Randy Gross, Products Manager, Poles, Inc.

CASE STUDY: Pacific Gas and Electric Pole Loading Database System

PG&E will speak about our vision for the potential, high level structure of a shared pole loading system. We believe we are aligned with the goal of the CPUC for a statewide pole and conduit

database. Our demonstration will use conceptual images and discussion to convey three points: (1) How could we give our end users and business partners self-service access to information about available pole capacity? (2) How would a view of available capacity transition to an electronic application or request to attach? (3) How could a user be profiled to be given visibility into a list of historical submissions and their statuses?

Brian Nugent, Principal Engineer, Engineering Center of Excellence, Pacific Gas and Electric

Clearance Basics

  • Vertical clearances over surfaces
  • Clearances between wires on different supporting structures
  • Clearances of wires from buildings, bridges, swimming pools, and others
  • Clearances for wires carried on the same structure
  • Climbing Space
  • Working Space
  • Edition of the Code

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

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

8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Symposium Timing

Pole Loading Examples

  • Typical Assumptions
  • Tangent Pole Basics
  • Angle Pole Basics
  • Guying Basics
  • Calculations
  • Examples
    • Tangent Poles
    • Angle Poles
    • Un-Guyed
    • Guyed
    • Junction Poles
    • Dead End Poles
    • Added Equipment

Third Party Attachment Process

  • Pole owner in-house processes
  • Pole owner subcontract all or part of the process
  • Oregon Joint Use Association

Adding Attachments to Existing Poles

  • Field Processes For Determining Existing Load
  • Remaining Strength if Necessary
  • Additional Load Added
  • Make Ready – Making the Pole Ready for an Additional Attachment
  • Small Cell – Antenna Attachments

Joint Use Application of Pole Loading Software

Questions and Wrap-up


Chad Newton Director – Product Management, Wood Infrastructure, Osmose

Chad Netwon is the Director of Product Management – Wood Infrastructure at Osmose. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a MBA, both from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is active in the IEEE PES Overhead Lines Subcommittee and serves as Vice-Chair for that committee’s Structural Materials and Hardware Working Group. In his current role, he oversees the design, development, and implementation of Osmose’s industry-leading wood pole inspection and restoration products and services, as well as provides support and guidance on products and services concerning strength and loading of wood poles.

Brian Nugent, Principal Engineer, Engineering Center of Excellence, Pacific Gas and Electric

Brian Nugent grew up in Elk Grove, CA, has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and now resides in Fresno. He is a licensed P.E. (Mechanical) in the state of California. He has worked for PG&E for the last 33 years; the early part of his career focused on promoting energy efficiency to commercial/industrial customers.

For the last 20 years Brian has worked for PG&E’s San Francisco office focused on improvements to Engineering/Design, Estimating, and Billing processes & tools for electric and gas distribution Engineering Estimators. For the last 3 years Brian has been primarily focused on pole loading.

Brian’s forte is optimizing data architecture for business processes. He has a track record of migrating paper intensive to database driven processes by discovering business logic datasets, designing business driven algorithms, and building data integration between systems.

Randy Gross, Products Manager, Poles, Inc.


Denver Marriott West

1717 Denver West Boulevard

Golden, CO 80401

Reserve your room:

please call 1-303-279-9100

Click here to book online.

Room Block Reserved For:

Nights of November 10 – 11, 2019

Room rate through EUCI:

$145.00 single or double plus applicable taxes
Make your reservations prior to October 18, 2019.


Event Standard RateAttendees
Proceedings package US $ 295.00

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