Rural Missouri - October 2010 - (Page 16)
Vegetation-control programs keep power flowing safely to homes
prevent outages as well as electrical hazards.” “We try to appease the needs of the memrees may seem harmless on a calm, sunny bers,” says Gordon. day. But add a bit of wind or ice on a “But then again, we stormy night, and those towering pillars have to keep the power may threaten your home’s electric supply. on by maintaining a “A great majority of our outages are related to 15-foot clearance on trees falling on power lines,” says Terry Gordon, each side of the lines.” right-of-way manager for Crawford Electric CoopEven before tree erative in Bourbon. “Regular trimming of trees and crews move into an control of brush along power lines helps cut down area, your co-op will let on the number of outages.” you know when and Electricity interruptions can occur when branches where the vegetation break and fall across power lines or when entire trees management will take tumble onto power lines. When strong winds blow, place. limbs growing too close to power lines may sway Your co-op respects and touch wires. your property and These momentary power disruptions (commonly decides how to trim called “blinks” or “blips”) aren’t just mild annoytrees based on the ances — they can damage computers and other senamount of clearsitive electronic equipment and leave digital clocks ance needed around flashing. And then there’s arcing — when electricwires, voltage coursity uses a nearby tree as a path to the ground. That ing through lines, the action poses hazards to anyone in the vicinity and tree’s growth rate and could spark a fire. photo by Kyle Spradley how frequently trimTo fight these potential problems, utilities wage a A contracted Asplundh tree-trimming crew works to clear problem limbs from an ming along the line is never-ending war. Right-of-way management crews oak tree too close to a set of power lines on Crawford Electric Cooperative’s system. performed. work year-round to clear growth away from power Removal of trees and branches away from the co-op’s 30-foot right-of-way is the first Most lineworkers lines as a way of reducing potential outages and step in preventing power outages during inclement weather. and crews hired to safety risks. perform vegetation Missouri’s co-ops are committed to providing proper tree care practices that protect and enhance management treat trees with care, often following safe, reliable and affordable power, with right-of-way the state’s forests. Each co-op exhibits superior qualTCIA guidelines. Trees close to houses and outbuildmanagement as a key part to fulfilling that promise. ity tree care, performs annual worker training with ings are often selectively trimmed to preserve the Tree-trimming crews look for foliage growing proper pruning techniques, provides public educaaesthetic value of the tree. under lines, overhanging branches, leaning or other tion information, utilizes trees for energy conservaIf you want to remove a tree near a power line, types of “danger” trees that could pull down a power tion and hosts an Arbor Day event. your electric co-op will work with you. Contact line if they fall, and trees that could grow into lines. Although a tree-lined street or natural hedge your local office before tackling the project for more As a rule of thumb, 25 feet of ground-to-sky clearrow to block unsightly power lines may sound information. ance should be available on each side of utility poles ideal, trees planted too close to power lines must be Some co-ops offer tree-replacement programs to to give power lines plenty of space. trimmed to prevent power fluctuations and outages. members who have had problem trees removed near “This job never ends,” explains Gordon. “We are So get your yard off to a good start — keep utility power lines. in a constant cycle of vegetation control and try to poles in mind when planting trees. “It is basically a nursery gift certificate,” Gordon get back a stretch of line every seven to nine years.” In general, tall-growing trees or varieties boasting says of his co-op’s program. “You get to pick out the Typically, a utility will not remove trees. Instead, wide canopies shouldn’t be placed near utility poles. species you want, but we advise not to plant a tree limbs and branches too close to power lines are A local nursery can generally provide information that is taller than 35 feet in maturity anywhere near trimmed away. outlining how tall and quickly a tree will grow. the power lines or poles.” “The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) Safety plays a big role in your utility’s right-ofTree-replacement programs allow some co-ops, receives a lot of calls from homeowners complaining way trimming practices. Children climbing trees such as Crawford, to qualify as Tree Line USA utilithat their utility company ‘drastically’ cut trees near could come into contact with a live wire if trees are ties by the National Arbor Day Foundation. Boone, power lines,” shares Tchukki Andersen, TCIA staff too close to power lines. Cuivre River and Ralls County electric cooperatives arborist. “When evaluating the quality of such activNotice any dead, dying or severely leaning trees also have earned the distinction by demonstrating ities, consider that a utility’s primary objective is to near power lines in your area? Be sure to alert your local electric cooperative. And don’t worry — if high winds or heavy layers of ice bring down trees and power lines near your home, electric cooperatives have line crews on call 24 hours a day, seven days a Power outages may be caused by car accidents damaging poles or week to respond. other unknown factors, but bad weather remains the primary cause. Trees are a valued part of every yard’s landscaping, and with proper planning, your trees can grow Per number of interruptions Top Co-op Prevention Plans to their full potential without causing power line woes. Several guides are available for prospective Weather 19% Tree trimming 89% planters. To learn more, visit the Arbor Day FoundaEquipment 16% Lightning arrestors 83% tion’s website at www.arborday.org. by Megan McKoy-Noe and Kyle Spradley firstname.lastname@example.org
Causes of Power Interruptions
Vegetation Lightning Animals
15% 13% 10%
Line patrol Animal guards
Source: NRECA Market Research Services, 2009
McKoy-Noe writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2010
Rural Missouri - October 2010
Good Times on the Berryman
Elk in Missouri?
Out of the Way Eats
Live Like a Viking
Two Men and a Cave
Hearth and Home
Paddlin' for a Cure
Get in Touch with Ghosts
Rural Missouri - October 2010
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