Recycling

Pole life extension helps save trees

Our entire transmission and distribution system requires roughly 1 million wood poles. The average life expectancy of a pole is 75 years. Each year, we inspect and treat more than 60,000 power distribution poles in order to extend their life.

The pole life extension program has given longer life (by approximately 15 years) to these poles. It has not only saved millions of dollars but also reduced the number of trees that have to be harvested to make new poles.

To extend the life of poles, crews excavate around the base, scrape off any decayed wood, apply an environmentally friendly preservative paste made of copper naphthenate and borax, cover the paste with protective wrapping, then backfill the pole. Unfit poles are sent to a local landfill for chipping.

Recycled materials in new office tower

More than 90 per cent of the materials in the 7 buildings removed to make room for our new downtown headquarters in Winnipeg were reused or recycled. Materials ranged from wire, metal, glass, and wood, to bricks, glass blocks, concrete, and even marble.

Most of the recycled material did not leave the site. Concrete walls and floors from the 7 buildings were crushed into rubble for the new foundations, and long fir beams may become part of a canopy over the south entry to the tower. The most popular items for reuse in other locations were bricks and ceiling tiles, followed by cabinets, lights, water heaters, fans, and sinks and toilets.

Lead

We have been replacing the lead in pole top pins. The pins, which derive their name from their position at the top of power poles, have threaded ends made of lead. The ends are capped with screw-on porcelain insulators that carry the conductor.

Replacement pole top pins use fibreglass instead of lead, which is considered an environmental hazard. The pins are replaced when the porcelain insulators they carry need to be replaced.