Preservative-treated wood poles have been an essential part of America’s communication and electrical infrastructure for more than a century. With an estimated 130 million poles in place in North America, wood poles are part of our overall culture because we live in a country blessed with an abundant forest resource. Our ancestors learned early on how to utilize this resource to meet our needs, and the versatility of wood allowed us to adapt it to changing uses.
Even in the technology dominated 21st century, wood poles remain the top choice for utilities. With a long record of performance, competitive, cost-effective pricing and far greater environmental benefits compared to alternatives, wood poles shall continue to bring power to North American homes and businesses for the next century.
The western U.S. is home to the top preserved wood pole producers in the world. Through the Utility Pole Committee, these companies guide WWPI activities to promote, develop and enhance the use of treated wood utility poles.
Many of these activities are conducted through the North American Wood Pole Council, a federation of three organizations representing the wood preserving industry in the U.S. and Canada: WWPI, the Southern Pressure Treaters' Assn. and Wood Preservation Canada.
Programs and activities for Utilty Poles include:
- Publications, digital media – NAWPC serves as the chief resource for technical information on preserved wood utility poles. This infomration is available through the website WoodPoles.org, featuring digital publications, smartphone/tablet apps and digital tools suuporting the specification and use of wood poles.
- Technical – WWPI and NAWPC monitor standards such as ANSI, NESC and other technical organizations which may create criteria that could affect the use of wood poles. As necessary, actions are taken to address specific local, regional and national issues concerning wood utility poles.
- Research – Working with institutions such as Oregon State University, WWPI supports research aimed at protecting national markets for wood poles as well as assessing and enhancing the long-term performance of wood poles in service.
- Regulatory – Working with NAWPC and the WWPI Regulatory Affairs Committee, the Institute identifies emerging regulatory issues and determines the appropriate strategies and actions to maintain and expand the use of wood utility poles.
Staff contact: Butch Bernhardt