Road Salt Causes Power Outages

The salting of roads to increase traction in winter weather leads to power outages-and even fires-according to a report from Wisconsin Electric in Milwaukee."As traffic sprays the road salt into the air, it accumulates on the surface of nearby electrical structures.

03/01/2001


The salting of roads to increase traction in winter weather leads to power outages-and even fires-according to a report from Wisconsin Electric in Milwaukee.

"As traffic sprays the road salt into the air, it accumulates on the surface of nearby electrical structures. Over time, the salt deposits degrade the insulating characteristics of the insulators and equipment on the poles," explains a utility spokesperson. "Eventually, this process results in electrical discharges on the surface of the structure. In some cases, the resulting arc is sufficient to ignite the wood pole. Last winter, there were 15 pole fires, many resulting in power outages that occurred after the salting of roads in anticipation of snowstorms."

To prevent such occurrences, the company relied on in-house and contract crews to install silicone insulators on more than 430 utility poles adjacent to major roads in Milwaukee County.

From Pure Power, Spring 2001





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