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Polesaver Customer Profiles

See how a selection of our customers have reduced their costs, environmental impact and improved safety with Polesaver

African Market
North American Market
European Market

Africa – Market Profile

In Africa, high average temperatures combined with damp ground conditions and regular rainfall create the ideal conditions for wood decay and termite attack. Typically, decay rates can be up to 5 times greater than those seen in Northern Europe and North America.

Even highly effective wood preservative such as CCA and creosote may only give an 8 to 15-year lifespan; meaning that wooden pole replacement costs are a significant financial burden for African utilities. The high pole replacement costs have the knock-on effect of reducing the funds available for the roll-out of electrification to rural communities. In many parts of Africa less than 30% of the population have an electricity supply, so ensuring precious money is not wasted on unnecessary pole replacement is essential. 

Many African utilities have looked at using alternative pole materials with concrete being a popular option, these have the downsides of much higher weight, limiting their use to easily accessible sites as well as the higher cost to purchase each pole. In practice, we have seen failure issues due to poor quality control. In addition to this, making a concrete pole produces over 1300 kg of CO² per pole, which is a concern to many utilities who are required to reduce their CO² emissions year-on-year. As a result, Polesaver sleeves are widely used by many African utilities on wooden utility poles to prevent ground line decay and inhibit termite attack, dramatically extending utility pole life to an expected 50 years or more.

Termite attack of poles can be a significant problem in many parts of Africa. Termites are generally attracted to decaying wood as this is easier for the termites to digest. By preventing decay, Polesaver has proven to be effective at significantly reducing termite attack of poles. Our fire protection fabric has also proved popular in preventing wild and bush fire damage to poles. Our fire fabric is cut to size, wrapped around the pole and stapled in place. The results are excellent even when used on poles treated with copper-based wood preservatives which are highly prone to afterglow/burn failure.

View Our African Customer Profiles

UMEME – Uganda

Key Facts

Pole material: Hardwood – Eucalyptus

Preservative treatment: Creosote or CCA

Average pole life: 8 to 10 years (severe ground conditions)

Pole replacement rate: 72,000 poles per year

Reason for using Polesaver Sleeves: Costs saving $14 million/year (over time), improved network safety and reliability

ENEO – Cameroon

Key Facts

Pole material: Hardwood – Eucalyptus

Preservative treatment: Water-Based Copper (earlier generation)

Average pole life: 6-8 years (severe ground conditions)

Pole replacement rate: 60,000 poles per year

Reason for using Polesaver Sleeves: Cost saving $12 million/year (over time) Improving safety (fatalities occurring with existing poles). Extending pole life and improving network reliability.

Electricity Company Ghana

Key Facts

Pole material: Hardwood – Eucalyptus

Preservative treatment: CCA (suffers from failure due to afterglow after bush fire)

Pole life in bush fire zones: As little as 1 year

Fires per year: Up to 2

Pole replacement rate: 10,000 poles per year

Reason for using Polesaver Fire Fabric: Eliminate need to replace fire damaged poles, improved network reliability & safety saving $2million year

North America – Market Profile

Effective wood preservatives such as Pentachlorophenol and Creosote are widely used in North America. These wood preservatives typically give a long pole lifespan. However, the same poles are often used by several different utilities at once, such as power, telecom & cable, making it a challenge to organise a replacement in the event of pole failure. In these cases, costly reinforcement of the pole is often undertaken to keep decayed poles standing. Many utilities also undertake highly toxic preservative re-treatment of the pole after approximately 20 years to try and prevent further decay occurring. In addition to this, the requirement for regular pole inspection and replacement makes wooden utility poles one of the highest single costs for North American utilities. 

In much of North America, the distribution network and utility poles are now reaching the end of their life, leading to many utilities looking to upgrade to a longer life, reduced or no maintenance alternative. Many utilities have looked at composite and steel poles as alternatives to wood. However, higher cost and potential corrosion, osmosis, conductivity and environmental concerns (high CO² emissions for manufacture) have resulted in limited uptake of these alternative materials. These factors have left many utilities with the challenge of how to improve safety and grid hardening at a sensible cost while also reducing their environmental footprint. Polesaver barrier sleeves provide a highly effective, proven and independently tested solution to this problem.

Cost-Benefit of Polesaver Sleeves

Polesaver barrier protection is low in cost and typically adds 1% or less to the total cost of replacing a pole. This cost is an insignificant amount when compared to the relative benefits achieved. Polesaver prevents the low-level ground decay that can start at the ground line after 10 or 15 years, thus maintaining full pole strength over time. Maintaining strength improves safety and grid hardening significantly while eliminating the requirement for costly pole maintenance & repairs.

Grid hardening

In parts of North America, severe weather events are frequent and high winds can present a severe threat to poles that have suffered from low-level ground line decay. This decay can start after as little as 10 years in service and occurs typically at the safety critical outer part of the ground line section of the pole. Often this low-level decay is not detected using standard pole test methods, yet the pole may have lost 30% or more of its strength. Polesaver’s proven and tested sleeves make conventional ground line decay impossible – ensuring full strength is maintained over-time, keeping your poles standing in adverse weather conditions.

View Our North American Customer Profiles

Lehighton Light & Power – USA

Key Facts

Pole material: Softwood

Preservative treatment: Pentachlorophenol

Average pole life: 35 years

Pole replacement rate: 2,000 poles per year

Reason for using Polesaver: Costs saving from extended pole life and reduction in inspection and maintenance costs, improved network safety and reliability

Europe – Market Profile

Traditionally the use of creosote or CCA type wood preservatives has given a wooden utility pole a lifespan of anything between 35 and 50 years. Ongoing and future changes to wood preservative legislation across Europe including the likely ban of creosote in 2021 are now leaving many utilities looking for a cost-effective and proven means of maintaining or increasing the service life of their replacement poles. This need for a long-life utility pole has left utilities looking at a wide range of options including the use of alternative pole materials such as steel, concrete and composites and alternative partial barrier products such as sleeves or oil-based wood preservatives as well as the use of full barrier sleeve systems such as Polesaver. Unlike alternative partial barriers to decay, Polesaver provides total protection from all the causes of decay, making conventional ground-line decay impossible.

Cost-Benefit of Polesaver Sleeves

Non-Toxic Polesaver sleeves are low in cost, yet offer a highly competitive solution to reduced pole life. When used with established and readily available water-based copper wood preservative treatment, Polesaver provides a proven and independently tested long-life pole solution.

The use of Polesaver typically adds 1% or less to the cost of replacing a pole – an insignificant amount compared to the significant cost savings resulting from longer pole life and improved safety and reliability benefits. This pole life extension is achieved at a significantly lower cost than alternative options such as partial barriers and the use of alternative pole materials such as steel, concrete or composites.

View Our European Customer Profiles

Latvenergo – Latvia

Key Facts

Pole material: Pine

Preservative treatment: Water-Based Copper

Average pole life: 20 years (previously CCA)

Pole replacement rate: 30,000 poles per year

Reason for using Polesaver Sleeves: Required an assured 40+ year lifespan when switching to a water-based copper preservative.

Rovakaira – Finland

Key Facts

Pole material: Pine

Preservative treatment: Water-Based Copper

Average pole life: 20 years (previously CCA)

Pole replacement rate: 2,000 poles per year

Reason for using Polesaver Sleeves: Required an assured 40+ year lifespan when switching to a water-based copper preservative.

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Polesaver Fire Protection Fabric
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