Power poles and trees don’t mix. Not successfully, anyway.
When a five-man IBEW crew from International Line Builders was dispatched in May to a job in San Jose, they found a pole almost entirely engulfed by a large California pepper tree. The pole was old, and it was being destabilized by the tree’s roots. The crew’s job: install a replacement pole about 40 feet away—in a more appropriate, tree-free location.
“We’re moving the pole line over, and we’re transferring the wire over to the new pole and new transformer, and we’re hooking up that new service to the house,” explained IBEW 1245 member and crew foreman Shawn Perez. “You know, just regular line work.”
The driveway was too narrow for a line truck, so Groundman Daven “Dave” Hernandez navigated the backyard machine across the four-acre property to the pole, which was located atop a steep incline.
The hole for the new pole had been dug the day before, so the crew got to work dressing and installing the new pole. The service was then moved over, with sixth-year apprentice Tim Fisher and third-year apprentice Josh Ganthier working from the new pole and Lineman Eric White (a travelling member from Local 77) working from the old pole.
Once the service was moved over, the old pole was carefully extracted to preserve the pepper tree, which was undoubtedly much happier for the extra breathing room.
IBEW 1245 Business Rep Richard Ingle said the pole’s new location will help assure service reliability in the future.
“It’s good for the pole, and it’s good for the tree, too,” he observed.