Power Transmission

How many Electricity Poles are in a Distance of 1-Kilometer?


How many poles of electricity are in a distance of 1 kilometer?


Utility poles are an integral part of Power Distrbution, visibly lining streets and highways. But how many poles can you expect to see over a given distance? Regarding a span of 1 kilometer (0.62 miles), the number of poles can vary based on the type of line and the spacing. Typically, there are between 10 and 40 poles per kilometer of overhead power line. In this article, we’ll look at what goes into determining pole spacing and estimating pole quantities over a kilometer distance.

What are electricity poles?

First, let’s briefly overview the purpose and parts of utility poles. This provides context before calculating pole spacing.

Purpose of electricity poles

Electricity poles support overhead power lines and associated equipment above the ground. They allow power to be transmitted via overhead cables rather than underground cables. Overhead lines are cheaper and easier to maintain, although underground lines provide better aesthetics and resilience.

How many Electricity Poles are in a Distance of 1-Kilometer?
How many Electricity Poles are in a Distance of 1-kilometer?

Parts of an electricity pole

The main components of a utility pole are:

  • Pole – Made of wood, steel, concrete, or composites. It extends above ground and is embedded underground.
  • Crossarms – Horizontal supports attached to the pole which hold insulators and conductors.
  • Insulators – Prevent conductors from touching the grounded pole and causing a short circuit. Made of ceramic or polymer.
  • Conductors – Wires that carry electric current, including power lines and neutral/ground wires.
  • Transformers – Step down and regulate voltage levels in distribution lines.
  • Equipment – Switches, fuses, lightning arrestors, grounding wires, etc.

Typical spacing between electricity poles

Now let’s look at the factors that determine how far apart utility poles are spaced:

Spacing factors and calculations

Pole spacing depends on sag and tension calculations based on:

  • Span length
  • Number and type of conductors
  • Wind and ice loading conditions
  • Grade of construction (heavy, medium, light)
  • Safety clearances
  • Pole strength and depth
Average spacing distances

While spacing varies, typical averages are:

  • High voltage transmission lines: 300 – 400 feet
  • Distribution lines in rural areas: 125 – 250 feet
  • Distribution lines in urban areas: 90 – 180 feet

Closer spacing is used near river crossings or higher-grade construction areas. Wider spacing can be used in open plains and low-grade construction.

Poles per kilometer

Now we can estimate the number of poles you would encounter over a 1 km distance:

Simple calculation

As a basic estimate using average pole spacing:

  • At 400 feet (122 m) spacing: ~8 poles per km
  • At 180 feet (55 m) spacing: ~18 poles per km

So, anywhere from 8 to 18 poles per km is typical.

Real-world variables

However, in reality, the number can vary more widely due to:

  • Straight runs vs. winding routes
  • Mixed line types
  • Intersecting lines and jointly used poles
  • Terrain and field conditions
  • Removal or addition of new poles over time

Actual pole counts are typically 10-40 poles per km under real-world conditions.

Pole types and configurations

Additional factors like pole types and circuit configurations also impact pole quantities:

Transmission vs. distribution poles

Transmission lines use taller poles spaced farther apart. Distribution lines use shorter poles and tighter spacing. An area could have both types.

Single circuit vs double circuit

Some poles carry one overhead circuit, while others carry two circuits or more. More circuits mean more poles, even at the same spacing.

So, the number of poles per kilometer depends on spacing, pole function, and electrical design.


While utility pole spacing varies based on voltage and field conditions, typical spacing ranges from 90 to 400 feet. Given these spacings, you can expect to encounter between 10 and 40 utility poles over each kilometer distance from the overhead power line. The number can fluctuate based on terrain, line function, route, and other real-world factors. But this gives a reasonable ballpark estimate for conceptualizing the number of poles over a given kilometer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some pros and cons of overhead vs. underground power lines?

Overhead pros are lower cost, easier maintenance, and storm repair. Underground pros are better aesthetics and less vulnerable to weather. Overhead cons are appearances and vulnerability. Underground cons are higher cost and difficulty accessing for repairs.

What are the different types of utility poles?

Common types are concrete poles, steel poles, wood poles, composite (fiberglass) poles, and laminated wood poles. Materials are chosen based on cost, strength, lifespan, and loading requirements.

How far apart are telecommunications poles spaced?

Telecom poles are typically spaced about 125 to 175 feet apart in urban/suburban areas. In rural areas, spacing may extend to 300 feet between poles depending on terrain and access requirements.

What is the average lifespan of a utility pole?

The average lifespan of a wood utility pole is 30-50 years. Concrete and steel poles last 60-80 years. Pole lifespan depends on materials, climate, maintenance, and loading conditions.

How are power lines inspected and maintained on utility poles?

Linemen visually inspect components on periodic cycles. Thermal/camera inspections detect hot spots. Live-line maintenance uses specialized buckets and gloves. Poles are reinforced or replaced as needed.

How much does a utility pole cost?

A basic 40 ft distribution pole costs $1,000 to $2,500, including installation. Larger transmission poles can cost $10,000 to $20,000. Concrete and steel poles cost more than wood.

What are the steps to safely install a utility pole?

The main steps are survey/design, assemble equipment, dig a hole, lift/stand pole, backfill hole, install cross arms/equipment, install wires & accessories, and clean up. Safety gear like hard hats and fall restraints should be worn.

What regulations cover overhead power line installations?

Key regulations include the NESC safety code, OSHA for worker safety, municipal codes, utility company standards, and easement/right-of-way permits.

What equipment is used to install utility poles?

Equipment includes pole trailers, boom lifts, augers, backhoes or excavators, pole-setting trucks, tension-stringing equipment, bucket trucks, cranes, and specialized pole-handling tools.

How close can you build a structure next to a power pole?

Most codes require objects over 6 ft tall to be set back at least 10 ft from utility poles on private property. Larger setbacks apply near overhead lines. Utilities may have additional right-of-way restrictions.

Engr. Muhammad Ali Raza

Hello, I'm Engr. Ali Raza, an Electrical Engineering Professional with a passion for innovation and a commitment to excellence. I completed my electrical engineering degree in 2017 and have since been actively engaged in the field, where I've had the opportunity to apply my knowledge and skills to real-world projects. Over the years, I've gained valuable experience in Engineering field, allowing me to contribute effectively to the development and implementation of electrical systems and solutions. I thrive in dynamic and challenging environments, constantly seeking opportunities to expand my expertise and make a meaningful impact in the world of Electrical Engineering.

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