Crews from Osmose Utilities Services have worked their way from 159th in South Holland to 188th in Lansing
by Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (October 23, 2019) – Adrian Garcia pointed out the silver tags on a cedar utility pole near the corner of 188th and Ridgewood. Underneath the new one he had just pounded in, an older one read “OSMOSE INSP.1996.” Ideally, says Garcia, utility poles are inspected and treated every 10 years, but this particular pole had last been visited 23 years ago. Though today’s technology makes it easier to track Commonwealth Edison’s inventory of utility poles, inspecting and treating them still requires a personal visit by a crew of people.
Garcia is leading crews from Osmose Utilities Services, a company contracted by ComEd to inspect and treat utility poles all over the country. They begin in northern areas throughout the summer and fall, working their way south as the seasons change. They have been in Lansing for several weeks already, spending 20–40 minutes on each pole. The poles along the street are inspected and treated fairly quickly, but the process slows down when crews have to access poles that are in homeowners’ back yards, for example. Contacting the homeowner, explaining the procedure, and bringing the equipment around can double the time needed.
Inspectors look for pole defects, and they pound the pole to listen for hollow or decayed areas. In some cases, inspection will determine the entire pole needs to be replaced, but in most cases the poles can be treated to extend their health. Replacing a pole costs about four times as much as treating it.
Most of the utility poles Garcia and his team have been treating are cedar, which is considered a premium wood because it is naturally resistant to decay and insect activity. Newer utility poles are typically some kind of pine, which is strong despite its light weight.
About Osmose Utilities Services, Inc.
Osmose is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and provides services throughout the United States, with additional offices in Buffalo, New York; Syracuse, New York; and Boston, Massachusetts.
About Commonwealth Edison
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 100 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.