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Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Composite Pole Project Advances Reliability

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s ongoing efforts to improve grid reliability continued to advance with its composite pole project at 88% completion territorywide.

WAPA began the Composite Pole Project in 2017. The project is 90% funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Program, with a 10% match being provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Composite poles, made of advanced materials, “possess exceptional durability, withstanding extreme weather conditions, including high winds and corrosive environments and offer a host of advantages over traditional wooden poles,” the public power utility noted on Sept. 13.

They are also more resistant to rot, decay, and termite damage, ensuring longevity and significantly reducing maintenance costs for the Authority in the long-term.

In less densely populated areas, composite poles offer an advantage over undergrounding because installation typically involves easy replacement of an existing pole, whereas undergrounding involves extensive excavation and more lengthy construction times.

As part of the Composite Pole project, the Authority has subcontracted Barkley Technologies for project management and design support services, with RS Poles, PECO and Trident Industries supplying composite poles and AWG providing supplies hardware.

On St. Thomas and St. Croix, composite pole installation is being performed by Haugland VI, while on St. John BBC Electric performed installations.

On St. Croix a total of 3,351 composite poles have been installed, 81% of its total. while 2,330 composite poles have been installed on St. Thomas, 99% of its total. And 1,711 composite poles have been installed on St. John, 87% of its total. Water Island is at a 100% completion with 200 composite poles installed.

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