Tree Trimming Improves Service for All
By Garrett Hylton
One of the things I love most about our community is the natural beauty of the high desert that surrounds us. At Wells Rural Electric Company, we strive to balance maintaining those beautiful surroundings and ensuring a reliable power supply by keeping power lines clear in rights-of-way.
While we recognize and appreciate the beauty of trees and ground vegetation, there are three main benefits to tree trimming in ROW areas. Before touching on the main reasons, let me explain what a right-of-way is and how it may impact you.
A right-of-way is the land we use to build, maintain, replace or repair underground and overhead power lines. Rights-ofway enable the co-op to provide clearance from trees and other obstructions that could hinder the power line installation, maintenance or operation.
The overall goal of our vegetation management program is to provide reliable power to our members while maintaining the beauty of our community. Proactive vegetation management benefits co-op members in three ways.
First and foremost, we care about our members and put their safety and that of our lineworkers above all else. Overgrown vegetation and trees pose a risk to power lines. For example, if trees are touching power lines in our members’ yards, they can pose grave danger to families. If children can access those trees, they can potentially climb into a danger zone. Electricity can arc, or jump, from a power line to a nearby conductor, such as a tree. A proactive approach also lowers the chance of fallen branches or trees making it more complicated and dangerous for lineworkers to restore power during severe weather events.
One of the biggest benefits of a smart vegetation management program is reliability. Strategic tree trimming reduces the frequency of downed lines causing power outages while ROW clearance can reduce the risk of damage caused by wildfire. Generally speaking, 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.
As you know, WREC is a not-for-profit cooperative, and that means we strive to keep our costs in check to keep our rates affordable. This extends to our approach to vegetation management. If trees grow too close to power lines or our ROWs become overgrown, the potential for expensive repairs also increases. Effective tree trimming and other vegetation management efforts keep costs down for everyone.