One of the things we love best about our communites is the many trees that offer beauty, shade and habitat for birds and other wildlife. Our community members also love having reliable power. At Loup, we must balance nature and power by keeping power lines clear in rights of way (ROW).
A right of way is the land we use to construct, maintain, replace, or repair underground and overhead power lines. This enables us to provide clearance from trees and other obstructions that could hinder the power line maintenance operation.
ROW areas are typically on public lands or located near a business or home. Loup employees must be able to maintain the power lines above and below the ROW. That’s why we have a vegetation management program. The overall goal is to provide reliable power to our customers while maintaining the beauty of our communities.
We do this by working closely with landowners so we have a mutually beneficial outcome when clearing vegetation. We trim trees naturally to the point of growth so trees can recover more quickly. Loup has a low ground impact personnel lift that can squeeze through 36-inch gates to remove vegetation in private ROWs and tight locations. We’re always on the lookout for small, unwanted trees that could become a big problem in the future.While we recognize and appreciate the beauty of trees, there are three main benefits to tree trimming in ROW areas:
First and foremost, we care about our customers and put their safety and that of our lineworkers above all else. Overgrown trees pose a risk to power lines.
For example, if trees are touching power lines in our your yard, they can pose grave danger to families. If children can access those trees, they could climb into a danger zone. Electricity can arc — or jump — from a power line to a nearby conductor like a tree.
A proactive approach also diminishes the chances of fallen branches or trees during severe weather events that make it more complicated and dangerous for lineworkers to restore power.
Of course, 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. Generally speaking, healthy trees don’t fall on power lines, and clear lines don’t cause problems. Proactive trimming and pruning keeps lines clear to promote reliability.
We also use data and technology to maximize the efficiency of our operation. This includes our vegetation management plan.
Our team uses mapping software that helps us develop a plan to clear vegetation from our overhead and underground lines and equipment.
Loup is a not-for-profit company. That means we strive to keep our costs in check in order to keep our rates affordable. This extends to vegetation management. If trees grow too close to power lines, the potential for expensive repairs also increases. Effective tree trimming and other vegetation management efforts keep costs down for everyone.
We appreciate the beauty of trees in our communities, but we also know residents there depend on us to provide reliable energy. 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.