Let’s start with the costs related to maintaining and replacing wooden poles. The cost of maintaining a wooden pole over its useful life (approximately 62 years) is relatively small. The first maintenance cycle will be triggered based on the type of initial preservative applied at the time of manufacture. Most poles become due at 20 years of age, but they can receive an inspection earlier if indications of decay or damage are present. The current inspection cycle is a 10-year interval, with a first-cycle inspection (including retreatment) costing approximately $60/pole. Subsequent cycles are less. Retreatment will generally add 7 to 10 years to the current useful life of the pole.
The inspection program also allows for the identification and subsequent removal of poles declared to be substandard or unfit for continued service. The average cost of a planned pole replacement is approximately $1,500. Costs related to the transfer of conductors and replacement of associated hardware could be added to that price. In comparison, emergency replacement costs can be 2 to 5 times more expensive depending on the nature and complexity of the incident.
Regarding the costs related to controlling vegetation near the distribution network, we spent $6.5 million in 2015 on the Island of Montréal.