Reliability assessment of power pole infrastructure incorporating deterioration and network maintenance

Document Type


Publication Date



© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. There is considerable investment in timber utility poles worldwide, and there is a need to examine the structural reliability and probability based management optimisation of these power distribution infrastructure elements. The work presented in this paper builds on the existing studies in this area through assessment of both treated and untreated timber power poles, with the effects of deterioration and network maintenance incorporated in the analysis. This more realistic assessment approach, with deterioration and maintenance considered, was achieved using event-based Monte Carlo simulation. The output from the probabilistic model is used to illustrate the importance of considering network maintenance in the time-dependent structural reliability assessment of timber power poles. Under wind load, treated and untreated poles designed and maintained in accordance with existing Australian standards were found to have similar failure rates. However, untreated pole networks required approximately twice as many maintenance based pole replacements to sustain the same level of reliability. The effect of four different network maintenance strategies on infrastructure performance was also investigated herein. This assessment highlighted the fact that slight alterations to network maintenance practices can lead to significant changes in performance of timber power pole networks.

Publication Title

Reliability Engineering and System Safety