Pole testing: When to replace your member-owned meter or yard light pole

Posted on Jul 03 2024 in Marshall County REMC
Dave Lewallen
Dave Lewallen CEO

We continuously monitor our electric infrastructure to provide reliable electric service for our members. The state of our electric poles throughout the county is vital to that infrastructure.

The REMC contracts American Energy Services, Inc. (AES) annually to ensure electric reliability by completing electric pole inspections and testing. On average, 3,500 poles are tested, which means each pole within our system is checked approximately every six years.

Marshall County REMC members with a meter-pole setup (a pole mounted with an electric meter) or a security yard light pole (a pole mounted with an REMC-owned yard light) own the pole and are responsible for maintenance and replacement when necessary. Since these poles are member-owned, the REMC is not responsible for replacements. When we initiate pole testing, we ensure that AES tests both REMC-owned and member-owned poles.

After AES completes annual tests, they share a final report with us that lists both REMC-owned and member-owned poles marked “bad” that need replacing. AES marks the pole with a small red arrow badge and a red ribbon. The arrow badge points up or down, indicating where the pole has rotted. If your member-owned pole failed 2023’s testing event, you should have recently received a letter regarding the findings with an outline of the process for replacement.

Marshall Co. REMC pole

While it is at the members’ discretion, if and when they choose to replace their member-owned pole, we recommend doing so as soon as possible. We often see poles fail at the most inopportune times, such as during a severe storm or after normal business hours. This can cause more damage to a member’s property and extended outage times, which could all be prevented by proactively replacing the pole during a designated time with favorable conditions.

Members should know that if their member-owned pole falls over, they are responsible for coordinating with an electrician to fix their electric service. The REMC cannot repair the electric service and restore the outage to your home or business. The concern for bad yard light poles is not outage-related. Our concern is the potential damage to the costly REMC-owned LED light mounted to the member’s pole.

If you received a letter from REMC regarding a pole you own that has tested bad, please contact Brian Perry, Marshall County REMC’s member services manager, at your earliest convenience to begin the replacement process.