Reasons for maintaining a comprehensive vegetation management program
Trees near power lines pose a threat to your home, your electric service, and your health. When trees contact high voltage lines and the right conditions are present, they may become conductors, carrying deadly electricity within the reach of your family and pets.
Power Quality & Reliability
Eight of every 10 power outages on Tri-County Electric’s system are the result of trees and other vegetation coming in contact with our lines. These outages are costly and inconvenient. And because our distribution lines are only a part of a larger system, the tree in your yard may create problems for hundreds or even thousands of people.
Aside from safety and system reliability, Tri-County Electric has a financial responsibility to our members to weigh the economic impact of our vegetation management program. The return on the money we spend to control vegetation is significant. Our programs help control line-loss and outage management expenses. These savings translate into lower rates for our member-owners.
What is our vegetation management program?
Tri-County Electric maintains a comprehensive vegetation management program to control growth in proximity of our lines and equipment. Tree trimmers are in your area once every 3 to 5 years to maintain clearance. National Electric Safety Code (NESC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require electric utilities to clear vegetation from power lines as a safety measure for our member-owners and our employees.
Right-of-Way maintenance crews follow specific board policies in performing their work which includes pruning and/or removing trees and brush. When trees are pruned, the goal is to remove the tree from the proximity of the line while taking steps to ensure the future health of the tree. This typically involves side pruning or trimming the branches growing toward the lines on one side of the tree.
Planting trees within the (30) feet right-of-way is prohibited. Trees found within the right-of-way will be removed with the exception of “utility friendly” trees such as dogwoods. Only trees enrolled in the Vegetation Management Program will be allowed to remain in the right-of-way. Program enrollment is $5/month per tree. Trees enrolled in the program will be rounded and maintained by Tri-County Electric.
What can I plant?
As mentioned earlier, certain types of trees (such as dogwood) are considered “utility friendly”. Before you plant, take into account the estimated size of your tree at maturity and ensure that the drip line (outside reach of the branches) is 15 feet away from the power lines. When planting near a utility meter, make sure it remains accessible. Tri-County Electric asks for your assistance in making sure our right-of-way is clear of obstruction as we strive to meet our obligation of providing you with safe, reliable electric service.