XCEL Energy Distribution Pole Replacement
Location: Multiple locations throughout Colorado
Areas of Expertise: Transmission & Distribution
In recent years, many utility companies across the Western United States have been actively assessing the devastating wildfires occurring throughout California, where outdated electric power poles have contributed to the spread of the disaster.
Since 2018, Hooper has been working with Xcel Energy on a large scale wildfire mitigation pole replacement project in Colorado. The goal is to replace 10,000 poles per year and Hooper is one of three contractors working to meet those needs within the next three to five years.
Xcel has identified more than 40,000 poles thus far that need replacing across the greater Denver Area, Front Range, and Rocky Mountains. Xcel reviews the structural integrity of each pole and uses a systematic approach to release hundreds of “pole packets” at a time, which include photos, maps and instructions about each pole replacement. Based on the contents of each packet, Hooper crews are required to identify each pole, call in locates, apply for a permit if necessary, secure the material and get the switching procedure called in to schedule the work.
Once the planning phase is complete, crews dig and change out each pole, disposing of the original pole and completing restoration work, if needed. Completion pictures are required and a job closeout as-built is returned to Xcel. This process is completed over and over again, often through difficult mountain terrain and inclement weather. Other challenges include working with multiple municipalities with varying requirements to complete each job, and ensuring work is scheduled efficiently to support maximum productivity. Each pole replacement averages roughly one day to complete.