Maintaining wood poles

BC Hydro employee maintaining wood poles

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Extending the life of wood poles

Our electrical system depends on wood utility poles. We want them to be strong and stable to keep you safe and to reduce the number of outages caused by pole failures.

We regularly inspect the wood poles used in both the transmission and distribution of electricity throughout B.C. Our inspectors look for signs of damage from insects and birds, and for evidence of rot. When necessary, we use pesticides and wood preservatives to treat poles.

Untreated poles can last for about 30 years. A pole treated with wood preservatives can last up to 70 years.

Pest management guide

As of April 1, 2019, BC Hydro's Test and Treat (T&T) program uses only boron-copper-based wood preservatives, which are unregulated products. As such, BC Hydro no longer needs to submit an official Pest Management Plan (PMP) to the Ministry of Environment (MOE) for its T&T program as per the Integrated Pest Management Act.

BC Hydro has opted to retain its existing PMP document, retitled Pest Management Guide, as a reference and guidance document for the Test and Treat Program.

BC Hydro's Pest Management Guide [PDF, 515 KB] describes the maintenance of transmission and distribution wood structures.