Grid Defender® Utility Pole Protection System
Every year, tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, and other natural disasters cause billions of dollars in damage to the poles and towers that support this country’s electric distribution system. As an example, a 2007 ice storm that his Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and other states is estimated to have caused $381 million in damage just to Kansas’ distribution system. Damage figures escalate rapidly when factoring in the costs from extended power losses – cows cannot be milked, refrigerated food spoils, worker productivity plummets. Additionally, downed power lines represent a serious safety risk to both the public and utility service teams as electricity continues flowing through the wires. Clearly, the public and utilities will benefit if these costs and risks can be avoided or substantially reduced.
The patented Grid Defender® Utility Pole Protection System is intended to substantially reduce the high costs and risks associated with natural disasters. Grid Defender® is a unique electrical/mechanical device that, when fitted to a power pole or tower, enables the crossarm to be lowered to a pre-determined height after the power has been shut off or before the storm strikes.
As a storm approaches, a decision is made to activate the Grid Defender® system. Activation can occur manually on site, remotely, or automatically in response to line stresses. When activated, the system shuts off the power and lowers crossarms in selected sections of the distribution grid according to a previously developed plan. As the crossarm is lowered, weight is transferred from the top of the pole to the bottom, greatly reducing the likelihood of the pole breaking.
The Grid Defender® system’s apparatus can retrofit to existing poles or fitted to new ones being installed. Furthermore, Grid Defender® is designed in such a way that transformers and other equipment on the pole will not hinder the lowering of the crossarm.
The Grid Defender® system’s major benefits are containment and risk reduction:
○ The cost to replace a single utility pole is $650, before adding the crossarm and equipment. A single storm will routinely destroy hundreds, if not thousands, of poles and towers. In addition, there are the incalculable collateral costs to consumers and businesses from extended power losses.
○ Downed power lines are risky – to people making contact with live lines, to property from falling poles, and to the utility teams working to restore power to the community. Even without storms, the risk to utility service teams during routine maintenance of the lines and infrastructure can be substantially reduced by temporarily shutting off the power and lowering the crossarms to near ground level for safe and efficient access.
These costs and risks are substantially mitigated by deploying and activating the Grid Defender® system. Moreover, the cost of deployment is paid back
hundreds of times over if the devastating impact of just one natural disaster can be avoided.