Pole replacement process, reliability improved with equipment upgrade
ASHLAND, Ky. October 17, 2023 – Kentucky Power recently added a Patriot 50 digger derrick to its fleet. This ride-on, off-road machine will improve restoration efforts and overall reliability with its quick pole replacement capabilities in difficult terrain that has required manual work or the use of a smaller, less efficient equipment.
The Patriot 50, which includes a bucket lift, will be used to assist with power restorations, trouble jobs and routine pole change outs. Even in the worst conditions of the company’s mountainous and heavily forested terrain, this machine will be able to meet the demands of distribution work required.
“Our employees are excited about this machine,” said Vernon Mullins, distribution system supervisor. “Instead of manually digging and hand setting poles in hard-to-reach places, which can take longer and be more hazardous work, we can drive this digger derrick right to the job site and safely expedite the restoration process when outages occur.”
Digger derricks are known as the workhorse of the utility industry. They can be used at job sites where typical utility trucks are unable to go. With 6,000 pounds of lifting capacity, the Patriot 50 can handle transformers and poles as well as backfill materials such as dirt or rock. The equipment features a hydraulic powered auger and a winch that can pick up and move poles with guides that precisely set poles into the ground.
“Investment in this equipment is an investment in reliability improvements to better serve our customers,” Mullins said. “The terrain in Kentucky Power’s service area can be very challenging; with the use of this machine, we can perform more efficiently in areas where our trucks can’t go. That means when the power goes out, we can get it turned back on faster.”