Tree Trimming Keeps Your Power On

At Wells Rural Electric Co., we believe the best outage is the one you avoid. While that’s not always possible and some outages are inevitable, especially in rural areas, we take reliability seriously, and we’re proud of the way our system has performed. Analyzing data from the last 12 months, the cooperative has experienced roughly 76 minutes of outage per member — not too bad when you consider there are 525,600 minutes in a year. We’re proud of that number, especially given that our rural area is at the end of Bonneville Power Administration’s transmission system. This performance exceeds national and state averages.

While a lot of factors contribute to outages, including issues with our transmission system that lies outside of our service territory and control, our operations department invests significant time and resources in ongoing preventive maintenance with the goal of avoiding as many outages on our distribution system as possible.

Preventive maintenance takes many forms. WREC uses line patrols and system data to identify potential hot spots where poles, transformers or other equipment need to be upgraded or replaced before they fail and cause lengthy outages. The cooperative plans and budgets for system projects that help improve reliability and service. We also devote time and resources to right-of-way maintenance that can help protect equipment during wildfires or, as we move into the spring, identify and remove trees and limbs that could potentially fall and create outages.

Tree trimming is an annual part of WREC’s preventive maintenance plan, and contractors began this year’s efforts in late February in Carlin. It should take about 60 days for them to move through the rest of the service territory, removing limbs and foliage in the rights of way that could potentially fall across lines and other structures and create outages.