SaskPower continues to invest in its Wood Pole Maintenance Program

May 15, 2020

SaskPower will continue inspecting wood power poles starting mid-May 2020. The Wood Pole Maintenance Program extends the life of SaskPower infrastructure, helps ensure reliable electricity for customers and saves money by reducing expensive emergency repairs.

This year, SaskPower will inspect over 119,000 wood power poles around the province, including the Rosthern, Shellbrook, Swift Current, Uranium City, Hudson Bay, La Ronge, Yorkton and Regina areas, plus several more between May and October.

These inspections will involve crews looking for physical damage, potential signs of decay or carpenter ant infestation. Wherever possible, the wood poles will be treated, repaired or reinforced. If a pole can’t be repaired, it will be marked for replacement in 2021.

“Our Wood Pole Maintenance Program is integral to our commitment to providing safe and reliable service to our customers,” said Tim Eckel, SaskPower Vice-President of Asset Management, Planning and Sustainability. “We have over 1.2 million wood power poles in Saskatchewan, and anything we can do to extend their life makes sense.”

The Wood Pole Maintenance Program also saves money, as it costs about 50 times more to replace a pole than to conduct routine maintenance on it.

Last year, SaskPower inspected over 118,000 poles in the Unity, Kipling, Regina, Saskatoon, Yorkton, Lumsden, Nipawin, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert areas.

Work associated with the wood pole maintenance program will also increase safety for SaskPower customers and employees and help to ensure reliable power is available across the province. Work will be taking place between May and October in the following locations:

Work schedule
Location Type of Pole When
Turtleford Distribution Mid-May to early July
Rosthern Distribution Mid-May to late June
Shellbrook Distribution Late June to mid-August
Hudson Bay Distribution Mid-August to late October
Creighton Distribution Mid-August to late October
La Ronge Distribution Mid-August to late October
Swift Current Transmission June to July
Weyburn Transmission July
Wynyard Transmission August to September
Yorkton Transmission August to October
Regina Transmission September to October

Crews will stay within the SaskPower right-of-way as much as possible, however workers may need access to private property in certain cases. Contractors will wear high-visibility clothing and carry identification with them. No power outages are necessary for this work. Social distancing protocols will be followed closely, and crews will limit exposure to the public as much as possible.

Throughout the year, SaskPower also plans to replace more than 2,500 poles that were identified during 2019 inspections in the Kipling, Lumsden, Unity, Prince Albert, Melfort and Nipawin areas.

The estimated total cost of the Wood Pole Maintenance Program in 2020 is over $20 million, including $6.2 million for inspections and maintenance, and $17.5 million for replacements.

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At a glance...

  • SaskPower is planning to inspect more than 119,000 poles in 2020 across the province
  • SaskPower is investing over $20 million to inspect, repair or replace wood power poles this year
  • Saskatchewan has more than 1.2 million wood power poles across the province

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