Benefits of power line right-of-way clearing
Trees provide a lot of benefits to many people. To some, they provide shade, beautiful colors or a playground. To others, they provide memories of a loved one. Removal or excessive trimming of one of these trees can create sorrow. Your local electric cooperative will only trim or cut trees when it is necessary to keep power line rights-of-way free and clear of obstacles.
What is an electric line Right-of-Way?
To understand why we do what we do, you first need to understand what it is we are talking about. An electric or power line right-of-way (ROW) is a strip of land that an electric utility uses to construct, maintain, repair or replace overhead and underground power lines. The ROW allows the utility to provide clearance from trees and other things that could interfere with line installation, maintenance and operation.
There are three main reasons to maintain a right-of-way: safety, reliability and affordability of your electric power.
Your safety is a top priority of your electric cooperative. A tree that is growing too close to a power line creates a potentially deadly hazard. It provides a clear path for a child to climb from safety into the danger zone. Danger increases when trees and power lines make contact, but the tree does not even need to be touching the line to cause deadly results. Electricity can jump, or arc, from the power line to a nearby conductor, such as a tree. An effective right-of-way program helps keep our littlest members safe.
You hear thunder rumbling in the distance. A storm is coming. Do you know that your chances of receiving uninterrupted service through a storm are greatly increased if your electric cooperative maintains clear rights-of-way? Contrary to what many people believe, lightning rarely causes power outages. It's wind and ice build-up that causes trees and limbs to fall on power lines. An effective right-of-way program keeps many of the potential problems away from power lines and improves reliability for you and your neighbors down the line. A tree growing too close to your neighbors' power lines can knock out power for hundreds of others - including you.
An electric cooperative is a not-for-profit business, which means we provide a service and cover costs. Any margins, or profits, gained by the co-op are either returned to members at the end of the year, or invested back into the co-op for improvements and emergencies.
When trees grow too close to power lines, the potential for costly repairs also grows. Suddenly, minor restoration efforts become major restoration efforts. As these costs increase, so do your electric rates.
An effective Right-of-Way program helps keep electric rates lower.
Consider where you plant new trees
Plan before you plant. A small yard tree today can later become a big problem for you and your electric co-op. Follow one simple rule: Be safe. Look up! Contact your electric co-op to best determine where to safely plant your next tree. Also be sure to call 1.800.DIG.RITE before you start.