It’s not just wildfires, tornadoes, and hurricanes that cause devastation to the nation’s electric power transmission and distribution systems. Conditions associated with freezing rain and ice storms have the ability to cripple power line systems, causing extensive power outages and threatening the safety of impacted communities.
Half an inch of ice can add as much as 500 pounds to a power line, and it takes just half of that weight to damage a line. Winds of 20-25 miles per hour cause a power line to sway, and the added weight of fallen tree limbs can add an additional force to a power line. These factors all affect the integrity of power lines during winter storms, which could potentially have significant negative consequences to the safety and power supply of impacted communities.
PLH Group consists of 11 energy-focused construction entities that specialize in power line construction, pipeline construction, and specialty work, serving the electric power line, pipeline, oil field electrical, and industrial markets. Though vital to the safety and operational functionality of our nation, electric power infrastructure is not exempt from Mother Nature’s wrath. Utilities take preventative measures and precautions to combat natural disasters, and even use artificial intelligence (AI) to predict what and where extra precautions may be needed. Even with preventative measures, though, storms — including those that bring freezing rain and ice — sometimes still damage the nation’s energy framework. From hurricane and wildfire to floods and ice storms, PLH Group companies are always ready to provide emergency response, aiding in community safety, as well as ensuring the return of power to communities as quickly as possible. PLH Group entities — such as Air2, Auger Services, Edison Power Constructors, Power Line Services, R.B. Hinkle Construction, Sun-Electric, TESSCO Energy, and TTR Substations — have proven experience in response, recovery, and restoration.
“Most people overlook the devastating impacts that freezing rain and ice storms can have on the health of a community,” said Elsie Bentley, vice president of Safety, Health, and Environmental at PLH Group. “Overwhelming force and weight on the lines from ice and fallen tree limbs can compromise the integrity of power lines, regardless of what storm precautions were in place.”
If you see a power line that has fallen, always assume it is a live line. Follow PLH Group’s downed power line tips to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
Additionally, be sure to follow safety tips to prepare for winter storms — including those focused on winter power outages. These tips include keeping necessary electronics fully charged, ensuring a working flashlight with batteries is handy, and stocking an adequate amount of blankets and water for everyone in the household.
Though PLH Group supports utilities in restoring power to communities impacted by winter storms, power outages from winter storms can still impact the health and safety of individuals and communities. Understand the potential severity of these storms and how you can protect your family and friends from its potential devastation.