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CASE STUDY

Rovakaira Oy

Rovakaira Oy partnered with Polesaver in 2011 with the objective of improving network reliability, reducing long-term maintenance and repair costs, and preventing overhead line repairs in adverse weather conditions.

See how we fulfilled their objectives below

Rovakaira Oy Case Study

Challenges

Location

Finland

Customers

31,000

Distribution Network

7000km

Rovakaira Oy distributes power in northern Finland to more than 31,000 customers. It covers an area of 28,800 square kilometres with almost 7,000 km of distribution network in some of the harshest weather conditions in the world.  

Located in the Arctic Circle, the challenges of servicing a population that is widely spread amongst many small hamlets and villages of Lapland are increased by extreme weather conditions that include strong artic winds, heavy and deep snow for half of the year, long periods without daylight, and severe temperatures that can reach as low as -51°C. In these conditions, maintaining a reliable supply of energy to customers can literally be a matter of life or death. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Rovakaira Oy is required to meet stringently regulated targets to satisfy low distribution costs and outage rates for its customers.  

Traditionally the use of creosote or CCA type wood preservatives has given wooden utility poles 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. 

For many utilities, including Rovakaira Oy, the cost of replacing rotten poles is one of their single largest annual maintenance costs.

Rovakaira Oy considers the failure of wooden poles from ground line decay a major problem, as it typically occurs during the severe winter conditions. Annually, Rovakaira Oy was experiencing an average of 120 overhead line faults, replacing 2,000 poles each year. Improving network reliability, reducing long-term maintenance and repair costs, and preventing overhead line repairs in adverse weather conditions were the driving factors behind Rovakaira Oy investigating enhanced pole protection alternatives.  

Solution

Rovakaira Oy considered a range of options to satisfy the requirements of both improved network reliability and the reduction of long-term maintenance costs, including:

  1. A US heavy duty, opened top bag lined with a metal barrier film;
  2. A German system whereby metal foil is wrapped around the pole and then covered with a heavy gauge plastic sheet, which is wrapped over the metal foil and heat shrunk in situ; and
  3. Polesaver heat-shrink thermoplastic bituminous sealant ground line barrier sleeves.

Working in partnership with their approved pole supplier, Rovakaira Oy established the following product evaluation criteria:

  • Protect the vulnerable ground line section of the pole;
  • Exclude all factors that may cause decay, including oxygen, decaying organisms, nitrogen and, most importantly, moisture;
  • Retain the preservative within the wood pole to maintain secondary protection over time;
  • Nontoxic to ensure environmental concerns could be satisfied beyond the requirements of the European Biocidal Products Directive;
  • Easy to apply and have a low additional pole cost;
  • Sufficiently robust for the sleeved pole to be transported from the pole supplier to the site and for installation to be completed without damage issues that could compromise the performance of the barrier system over time;
  • Allow the utility to continue following its standard pole test procedures;
  • Designed to withstand installation in stony ground conditions using dig and backfill installation equipment; and
  • Independently tested and proven in use.

Of the three options investigated, the Polesaver ground-line barrier sleeve was the only product that satisfied these exhaustive criteria. 

Once applied, the bituminous liner inside the outer thermoplastic sleeve melted to form a tough watertight seal to the pole surface. This seal effectively lowers the entry point for moisture to the pole, keeping the zone inside the sleeve relatively dry — below the 25% level when decay may occur. Even if punctured or damaged, the area of wood exposed to water ingress that can lead to decay is limited to the damaged area only, unlike the other systems. This product also proved to be easy to apply to the pole and was the lowest-cost option of the three products evaluated.

Results

Sleeves Fitted

10,000+

Reduced

Outages

Polesaver Is Now

Standard Fit

Rovakaira Oy first began initial trials of the Polesaver solution in 2011 and has subsequently successfully installed more than 10,000 poles fitted with Polesaver sleeves across their network. The use of Polesaver sleeves 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.

The result of this program for Rovakaira has seen an overall reduction in outages, and repair and maintenance costs, and the Polesaver ground line protection solution has been adopted as the standard for all of its new and replacement overhead poles.

Polesaver Sleeve shown applied to a pole in the ground
Product

Polesaver Sleeve

Polesaver ground-line barrier sleeves are a dual-layer, high-performance sleeve that prevents ground rot in wooden utility poles. Polesaver Sleeves are guaranteed for 50 years.

Learn More
Polesaver Sleeve shown applied to a pole in the ground
Product

Polesaver Sleeve

Polesaver ground-line barrier sleeves are a dual-layer, high-performance sleeve that prevents ground rot in wooden utility poles. Polesaver Sleeves are guaranteed for 50 years.

Learn More

Do you think your utility could benefit from partnering with Polesaver?

Peter Williams - Polesaver

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Contact our team to discuss how your utility company and pole stock can benefit from partnering with Polesaver

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Peter Williams - Polesaver International Sales Manager - Round Image

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Contact our team to discuss how your utility company and pole stock can benefit from partnering with Polesaver

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