Killer power poles


Which do you think is more dangerous: slithering on your belly under enemy fire in the jungles of Borneo, or driving your pickup past a power pole in New Zealand?

Wrong. Forget the snakes and snipers — they pale beside the danger of roadside power poles.

Hard to believe, but more New Zealanders were killed in collisions with these underappreciated menaces during the last 40 months than in all armed conflict since World War II, according to a story from the New Zealand electrical industry magazine ELECTROLINK, reprinted in SCOOP. Adding up medical treatment, legal expenses, property damage, and social costs, a government agency calculates that power pole accidents have cost about $2 billion (in New Zealand dollars) over the past decade. And it’s not electric companies who foot the bill. When car meets pole, electric companies actually bill victims for damage to their property.