While the area LREC serves is fortunate to have a bounty of trees, one of the top ways the co-op keeps members’ rates affordable is through its rights-of-way vegetation management program.
“LREC must ensure a reliable power supply by keeping power lines clear in rights-of-way,” says Brian Broughton, president & CEO. “Rights-of-way maintenance is one of our most expensive costs. But if trees grow too close to power lines, the potential for expensive repairs also increases.”
Rights-of-way maintenance enables the co-op to provide clearance from trees and other obstructions that could hinder power line installation, maintenance, or operation. Rights-of way are typically on public lands or located near a business or home. Strategic tree trimming reduces the frequency of downed lines causing power outages. Generally, healthy trees don’t fall on power lines, and clear lines don’t cause problems. Proactive trimming and pruning keep lines clear to promote reliability.
LREC puts the safety of members and its linemen above all else. If tree limbs are touching power lines, they can pose grave danger. For example, a child could potentially climb into a danger zone. Electricity also can arc or jump from a power line to a nearby conductor like a tree. Vegetation management diminishes the chances of fallen branches or trees during severe weather events that make it more complicated and dangerous for linemen to restore power.
“Our community is a special place,” Broughton says. “Through vegetation management, we are better able to keep the power lines clear, prepare for future weather events, and secure the reliability of the grid.”
NOTE: LREC recognizes that members are sometimes concerned about the time it takes before debris is removed after tree trimming. Attention is given to remove debris that may block a drive. However, it may take up to a week or more before clean-up of the entire area is complete. Broughton says available manpower is often the issue. “We will get vegetation removed as soon as possible,” Broughton says. “We ask that members please be patient.”