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Funding a Systematic Approach to Steel Structure Life Extension

Steel does not last forever. A significant percentage of the steel utility structures in service are over 40 years old, an age at which the cumulative effects of corrosion begin to take their toll. Traditionally, utilities have not included below-grade assessments in their maintenance programs, resulting in unseen and unidentified hazards putting the country’s power grid at increasing risk.

Utilities need to execute a steel asset assessment and structural reliability and resiliency program across their systems to identify and rehabilitate potentially dangerous structure conditions. Historically, these types of programs have been treated as maintenance, but the lack of available operations and maintenance (O&M) dollars has made it challenging for utilities to consistently execute best-in-class assessment and remediation programs.

How can utilities fund what needs to be done to alleviate the serious risk posed by aging steel structures? One solution is to consider capitalizing on the program costs.

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