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Today is August 13, 2022

Right of way management promotes safety, reliability

Right of way management promotes safety, reliability

The work electric cooperatives do to help keep power lines separated from plant overgrowth plays a major role in service reliability. 

From mowing and brush work at ground level to tree trimming above power lines, your local electric co-op regularly inspects and manages the landscape near electrical equipment.

There’s more than one way to look at vegetation management. The work electric cooperatives and their contractors do to help keep electric lines and other equipment separated from plant overgrowth plays a major role in safety and service reliability.

 

Maintaining clear rights-of-way (ROW) along power lines is vital to a co-op’s ability to provide reliable service. It is also necessary to maintain a proper distance between trees and power lines to ensure public safety. 

Co-op members need to understand that maintaining ROW is not an inconvenience, it’s a necessity. Controlling vegetation within the ROW floor assures safe access for employees when they are troubleshooting outages and repairing downed power lines. The overall result of ROW maintenance is quicker restoration of outages during storms. 

From mowing and brush work at ground level to tree trimming near or above power lines, Mississippi’s electric co-ops regularly inspect and manage the landscape in and around their equipment. Effective to prevent outages, minimize the threat of fire damage, and maintain access and serviceability. 

Clearing brush and other low-growing vegetation is accomplished by a combination of bush-hogging and herbicide application. Co-ops use off-the-shelf, non-restrictive herbicides because they are effective, economical, and environmentally friendly. They are not harmful to humans, pets, or livestock. Managing vegetation in this way also allows native grasses and wildflowers to grow, thereby improving the aesthetics and wildlife habitat along the ROW. 

According to industry research, about to 20% to 30% of all power outages are related to vegetation.

Removal of tall trees and limbs near power lines also reduces risks of injuries caused by accidental contact with energized powered lines.

Mississippi’s electric co-ops regularly share information and updates on local vegetation management efforts to keep the public safe and communicate how tree and plant growth trimming increases service reliability. 

“Communication is indispensable to successful vegetation management programs,” said Randall H. Miller, a vegetation management consultant. “Stakeholders need to understand how vegetation management will benefit them, and that includes education on how a vegetation management program minimizes the risk of tree-caused power outages.” 

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