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WHAT IS A POWER POLE?

WHAT IS A POWER POLE?

Photo of Private Power Pole
power pole electrician working on a private power pole
Top of a power pole in Perth
Power Poles along the Perth horizon
Sunrise over power poles

Here is all the information about Power Poles in Australia

A power pole is an infrastructure that is used to transmit electricity and the electrical power they produce through electrical conductors. It is a pole that includes insulators, which are pieces of materials that prevent electricity from flowing between them and ground. Fortuitously, these poles also come with a grounding system which makes sure the electric signal gets into your home’s ground wire safely.

We’re living in a world where electricity is becoming more and more necessary. Electricity is what allows households to run electric devices in their houses. But these utility poles don’t just exist in homes and cities; they exist worldwide in a variety of locations, including outside homes and institutions such as stores and restaurants, factories and retail shops that need constant power.

The primary function of a power utility pole is obviously to distribute electric power within an area surrounding its perimeter. The distribution and transmission networks are two vital components of a reliable power system. These networks run from the power plants to the distribution systems, then onto the transmission system, which distributes electricity to various users. The distribution and transmission lines are both held up by utility poles.

The power poles are mostly around 45m tall with a cross-arm mounted at around 10 m (for HV lines) and 20m (for LV lines). Having proper infrastructure for the transmission and distribution networks has become a vital factor in achieving these requirements. Inability to provide such infrastructure not only affects the reliability of the supply, but also may cause atrocious disasters which would affect the wellbeing of mankind

A power pole will have one or more “fall” wires on it. This will be the route for electricity to travel from the power station to your home or business. A “chain” is used to connect the transformer and/or switch on a pole and this is where electricity will be able to go from the pole and back down into your house.

Each house or business will have a “ground” wire (or conduit) that will be connected to this ground wire on the pole, then run underground towards your home or business.

There are several aspects to power poles in Australia:

1.The pole or utility pole
2.Wires and cables
3.Hardware
4.Safety features
5.Grounding wires

Power poles

The Utility Pole or Power Pole

The Power Pole is a long cylinder made of wood, concrete or steel. This can be either round or square in shape. Poles are anchored to the ground by a cement foundation and set like a stake. The pole is used to hold all the wires, cables and hardware. They also have insulators on them which prevent electricity from flowing between them and ground. In Western Australia, power poles can be made from various materials: steel, concrete, plastic formwork and wood. The utility poles used as a power pole must comply to specific standards and design principals. 

Power Pole Safety Features

Safety features: As mentioned above, a grounding wire is used to connect both utility poles. This wire is connected to the hardware on each pole and allows electricity to flow freely between them. Furthermore, power poles are also inspected often to ensure they meet safety standards and no damage has been made. The wires and cable are also inspected, so they will not be damaged or broken down by weather conditions.

Wires and Cables

Wires and cables: The wires that are used on poles are generally made of “aluminum or copper-clad steel.” These wires are generally very thin in diameter, ranging from 18 gauge to 1/0 gauge. They can be used for different voltage levels of electricity. For example, a cable used for high voltage is usually thicker in diameter and can carry more electricity than a medium or low voltage cable.

Power Pole Grounding Wires

Grounding wires in power poles: Grounding wires are connected to an electrode on top of each pole. These electrodes are connected and attached to a dielectric insulator, which is usually a steel cable. Grounding wires are installed every 1000 feet to ground the poles. The grounding wire is under constant voltage pressure, which means even if the electricity was accidentally cut off, the grounding wire will still continue to hold electricity from flowing from one pole to another. This prevents people from getting a shock when they touch the telephone lines or power lines.

Power Pole Hardware

Power Pole Hardware is the electrical equipment that is attached to the power poles. This includes devices such as “transformers and switches.” Hardware can be either a single unit or a multi-unit pole system. The hardware will be paired to an exact pole by bonding wire, called a grounding wire, which connects the hardware on both poles. In this way, electricity will always keep flowing from the utility pole to your house or business in case one of the electrical wiring is damaged.

Power Pole Grounding and Insulation

Grounding – Electric current flows from one pole to another via a bonding wire connected to an electrode on top of each pole. The bonding wire and electrode are attached to a dielectric insulator – in this case a steel cable. Grounding wires are typically installed every 1000 feet.

Insulation – Insulation on the utility pole has to have a minimum of 60 mil thickness. The insulation is applied with bitumen, tar or hot asphalt mixture, which come in rolls.

Parts of a Power Pole Explained

Power Pole Diagram

Insulators on Power Pole

Electrical insulation is a common tool used to prevent contact between electrical conductors and non-conductors. This serves to connect the live wires safely to the pole. Prevents energized wires from coming in contact with each other or the pole. The insulator is a ‘dielectric’ which means that it has a low electric field and thus prevents the electrical energy from flowing between the wires. This prevents any current paths in which electrons can flow, so no power can be transmitted or generated. It also ensures that each wire remains electrically isolated from one another and avoids electrical shorts and sparks. The insulator is used to protect the people around a power pole, including by preventing customers of phones lines or other buildings on the same line as they are installed to be electrocuted if an unexpected event occurred with their utility poles.

Power Pole Cutout Box

Cutout box – The cutout box is used to protect electrical equipment that delivers power to the home or business. There is a small box where the wire is attached to a transformer. The cutout box is then placed inside the home or business to provide easier access to workers who will be doing maintenance on appliances in a home or business.

Power Pole Guy Wire

Guy wire:
Guy wires are made of steel reinforcement, which is usually two vertical pieces, each one mounted on either side of a pole. Guy wires are used to support all kinds of electrical equipment, including transformers, lighting and phone lines, which are attached to poles.

Primary Wires

Primary wire – Primary wires carry high voltage electric current from a nearby substation to a transformer. This is usually copper wire but sometimes aluminum, either coated steel or bare metal (uncoated). The primary wires conduct the power away from the transformer to the service drop wires, which carry the power to homes and businesses. The primary wire may have different colors that represent different electrical properties of its insulation. This is to indicate what kind of voltage is being used throughout the wire.

Lightning Arrestor

Lightning arrestor: Lightning arrestors are devices that protect power poles from lightning strikes by directing the arcs of lightning away from the pole. This protects other objects and people from colliding with the electricity.

power pole along a road

Power Pole Crossarm

Crossarm – Crossarms are those horizontal pieces of wood, steel, aluminum or plastic that hold secondary wires in place. They also make sure that all wires do not come in contact with each other and cause current paths; this promotes safety. Insulators are made of materials that do not conduct electricity. Cross arms are used anywhere a live element does, or could, contact a non-insulated surface. The insulators allow the electric company to safely connect a live wire to a pole. It is not just the insulation that makes this possible, but also the porcelain insulator core and its steel pin locking system

Transformer

Transformer: A transformer is an electrical device that changes voltage of electricity. A transformer is an electrical device that changes voltage of electricity. The power of the transformer is determined by the capacity, which is often measured in kilovolt-amperes. This capacity controls how much current a transformer can carry, how it will be distributed, and the quality of its voltage regulation.

Service Drop

Service drop on a power pole:
This is the part of the power line that houses the wires that connect homes or businesses to utility poles. The service drop acts as a fuse box.

Neutral Line

Neutral line: The neutral wire is part of the grounding circuit. The electrical engineering term for “neutral” is the line that carries no voltage. The neutral wire is one of the two types of wires that serve side-by-side with the power lines. A pole without a ground strap, or without a neutral conductor, can become electrically unsafe.

power poles photos
power poles photos
power poles photos

Installing a Power Pole

Power Pole Transport

Transportation: The utility poles are shipped to the site by trucks. The utility pole is put in a truck, the truck drives to the work site and puts the poles on a trailer and then drives away from the work site.

Power Pole Placement

Placement: The electrical equipment, wires and cables are connected to the power pole. This process usually takes about five hours for one utility pole. Then, more inspection is done to ensure that everything is working properly with one utility pole.

Power Pole Guy Wire

Guy wire:
Guy wires are made of steel reinforcement, which is usually two vertical pieces, each one mounted on either side of a pole. Guy wires are used to support all kinds of electrical equipment, including transformers, lighting and phone lines, which are attached to poles.

Assembly

Assembly/Installation: Once all sections of each power pole are in place, it requires assembly and installation. The assembled parts are usually held together by a concrete bond. Assembly includes connecting wires to and between equipment. Installation includes attaching any equipment at the top of the pole, such as a transformer or lightning arrestor.

Connection of Power Pole

Connecting the power lines: This process takes about one hour for one pole. Once the power lines are connected to the pole, a test is conducted to ensure that there are no problems with the power line. At this point, all electrical equipment is installed and tested, then follows interconnection and testing of the entire site.

Digging the Hole

Digging the hole for a power pole: The first step for preparation of power pole installation is the digging of hole in order to make sure the ground is level. Once the hole is dug, a base is created to put the power pole supports.

Positioning of Power Pole

Positioning: The pole needs to be correctly positioned and then lifted. The process of positioning a utility pole involves using a crane to attach the pole to supports and then using the crane to move, tilt and rotate the pole.

power pole along a road
Photo of Private Power Pole

Power Pole Insertion

Insertion: Once optimal, the pole can then be eased into the hole. The pole is then lowered and inserted into the base, so that the base connects with the pole. The base can then be secured to the ground.

The placement of insert:
1)The utility pole gets placed into the support; this process usually takes around 5 hours.
2)A 5/8″ threaded post anchor bolt is placed through one side of each support and into an inserted welded steel insert for reinforcement.

Grounding: The power pole is grounded with copper to drain excess voltage. The copper is usually bonded to the pole with a galvanized steel strap. The base or foundation of each pole contains an insulator, which protects the utility wires from coming in contact with each other.

Bracing:
This process is used to support poles and provide stability. Bracing consists of vertical steel members fastened to a base and anchored onto the ground.

Power Pole Insulators

Installation of insulators: After the installation of the utility pole is complete, the insulators are installed. This involves drilling holes into the insulator where they will be fitted on a mast (pole) to allow electricity to flow and trip out any loose wires.

Inspection of Power Pole

Service drop on a power pole:
This is the part of the power line that houses the wires that connect homes or businesses to utility poles. The service drop acts as a fuse box.

Testing of Power Pole

Testing: This is done before power poles are installed. The testing includes checking that cables are connected properly and that all devices are working properly after these poles have been installed.

power poles photos

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Address

PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Email

pole@sparkpro.com.au

About 
Spark Pro Electricians & Electrical Services

Spark Pro Electricians and Electrical Services have over 50 years combined experienced in general and advanced electrical services. We have kept the power flowing through Perth properties for over 20 years. 

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Testimonials

“We called Spark Pro when our metre box melted down. They were there within the hour and identified the cause accurately after Western Power incorrectly diagnosed the issue. Spark Pro handled the entire process from beginning to end and made a bad situation much better.” 

Angela, Mindarie ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Spark Pro helped us when we discovered that weather damaged our power pole. We had lost power and need emergency power restored. The teams from Spark Pro provided a backup generator system and with 24 hours had our power pole repaired. Thank you to Emad and Rob from Spark Pro.”

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