Keeping a clear right-of-way is more difficult than one may think. Each year, in the annual report, we tell our members that are actively pursuing an aggressive right-of-way program. This statement is an accurate description of how we manage our right-of-way program, and the steps we use to ensure that we are approaching each year with the mindset of tackling potential outage related trees.
Clearing over of 2,100 miles of primary lines cannot be done in a year’s time. This is why we manage our territory in cycles and clear as much as possible within the budget. This year we are on track to clear about 350 miles of brush and trees and spray an additional 370 miles in an effort to assure our members of reliability electric service.
Each year brings a new set of challenges and this year is no different. An abundance of rainfall has created very soft and saturated ground which allows even healthy trees to tumble onto electric lines. Our summer outage summary, describes an “off-right-of-way” situation where healthy trees that remain outside our 30’ or 40’ right of way fall and cause numerous outages. “Off-right-of-way” trees do not pose a threat to electric service when the rain is not as plentiful as it was this year.
We do encounter members that do not wish to have us cut or spray on their property. In the past, we continue to work with those members to find a solution as long as the member is willing to maintain the affected area. Not allowing BREC to clear or spray areas in which the growth could easily overtake electric lines is a threat to service. More often than not, this threat does not merely affect one member, but several members should a fallen tree or growth cause an outage. These types of outages can delay restoration by several hours depending on the severity of the growth or required removal before the line can be worked on. We ask our members to be aware of trees or growth that could cause an outage and to never plant a tree in an area in which the limbs could overtake power lines. Our members can find out more information on planting the right tree in the right place on our website by clicking here.
There is no easy solution to managing our beautiful and lush terrain, but with our constant attention and help from our members we can reduce tree and growth outages and keep lights on.