The problem of electric poles’ collapse is the major cause of most electricity blackouts. Public power supply firms in Nigeria have numerous records regarding the frequency of the occurrence and the effects it is having to their consumers who may stay weeks or months without electricity until the collapsed pole has been replaced and the wiring system restored.
There are many dealers of electric concrete poles in Nigeria and all of them sell to private and public power firms for the same purpose of power distribution. In the cause of the competitions, emphases are being laid to the standard of the concrete poles which had been their major criteria for making purchases. Despite the above precaution and measure, at least 100 concrete poles can be recorded annually to have been collapsed across the whole country. The causes of these collapsed concrete poles may not actually be caused by their standard or poor molding process rather most of the collapse were caused by external factors.
SOME FACTORS THAT CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE COLLAPSE OF CONCRETE POLES INCLUDES:
A FALLEN TREE: Any large tree near the power line can cause the pole to collapse if the tree happens to fall down either due to wind or any other factor. The tree may fall directly on the pole or fall on the power line cables dragging the two poles bearing the powerline closer and causing either the two or one of them to collapse. It is very common during the raining season.
CAR ACCIDENT: Another record of pole collapse can be attributed to car accidents. When a car accident occurs such that the car hit an electric concrete pole there will be a very high tendency of the pole collapsing. Though this aspect of collapse will depend on the size of the car, the momentum it has and the speed it was moving when it hits the pole.
INTERNAL FRACTURE: if an electric pole had been in service for a very long time in a place where it is exposed to steady or frequent vibrations, some cracks may be developed which may be unnoticeable. As the time progresses, the pole may collapse at any small impact on it, like when hit by a small car or if a heavy wind blows.
There are other factors which can actually cause the pole to collapse that has nothing to do with the pole being a standard one or not. However, let’s discuss further on the collapse of the concrete poles and give a possible solution to minimize the rate of its occurrence.
When a concrete pole collapses, the steel rods inside it will help to make the collapse appear like a deformation of its structure since the concretes will be seen falling off from the pole leaving only the steel rods which had to be deformed or bent towards the direction of the collapse.
THE WAY PUBLIC POWER FIRMS ARE USING TO REINFORCE THEIR CONCRETE POLES
The public power supply firms have thought it necessary to reinforce their poles to reduce the rate of collapse and save the cost such occurrence usually generate to them and also reduce the rate of putting their consumers in a blackout. For those reasons, the following are steps are used for the concrete pole reinforcement:
After the mounting and installation of the pole, without covering the bottom with sand, a space of about one feet gap will be created around the diameter of the pole from the bottom using a wooden boards or metal sheets, the height will come out from the bottom of the pole to about four feet above the ground surface. After that, another concrete with high cement mixing ratio will be poured into the space created around the pole up to the height of four feet and above from the ground surface. When the new concrete solidifies, it will make the pole to become very strong at the base and reducing the possibility of the pole falling due to a car accident. However, this technique has been seen to fall in cases where heavy-duty vehicles and other heavy load make an impact force on concrete poles, such situation will also exceed the limit of any concrete pole hence collapse will be inevitable, but for a level of safety and protection the technique can prevent collapse coming from moderate level of load impacts.
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