The Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives’ new Mobile Test Lab service is making an impact, saving member co-ops time and money … and lives. Providing dielectric testing of trucks, line hoses, blankets, hoods, sticks, and continuity tests for grounds and mechanical jumpers, all tests performed by the mobile test lab are per ANSI, ASTM and OSHA standards.

“The mobile test lab allows cooperatives to have reduced hose and blanket inventory by testing those rubber goods directly from the bucket truck,” says Jerone Mabe, VMDAEC manager of technical services. “A hose or blanket item that fails a test can be replaced from the Mobile Test Lab’s stocked inventory.” In addition to a stocked rubber goods inventory, the test lab carries Hastings and Utility Solutions’ stick parts.

VMDAEC member co-ops like BARC Electric Cooperative are given the opportunity to utilize the mobile test lab. The lab offers service to the co-op’s rubber goods, hot sticks, aerial devices and insulated buckets. According to the BARC Safety and Loss Prevention department, VMDAEC test lab staff has identified faulty PPE/equipment in the past, giving BARC personnel confidence in their testing methods. VMDAEC appropriately records and maintains data sheets for each item inspected, which are then forwarded to BARC for documentation purposes and review, at the conclusion of testing. 

BARC leadership is pleased with the continued careful attention to housekeeping practices and communication throughout the inspection process. Test lab staff ensures that the testing area is conspicuously marked with barriers, cones and hazard lights to designate a safe work zone while completing the inspection process quickly and efficiently. Having the testing occur at BARC’s facility has been logistically advantageous, while also minimally affecting the productivity of co-op crews.   

The mobile test lab is operated by two technicians well-trained in and committed to quality control. Mabe served as a lineman for 10 years and contributed to improving products and processes. Ben Arthur, who recently joined the Association as mobile electrical technician, worked on aircraft in the Marines for six years. More information about the safety, training and testing services provided by VMDAEC can be found at

– Report by VMD Association