Clearing the Way for Safe, Reliable Power
You have probably noticed bucket trucks, oversized mechanical tree trimmers and chippers clearing trees and brush along power lines. Maintaining our power line rights of way (ROW) is important to Okefenoke REMC’s power reliability and restoration efforts.
Understanding Right of Way
A right of way is the 30-foot wide corridor or pathway OREMC’s overhead power lines follow (15 feet on both sides of the lines) along a road, in town, through the woods, across a swamp, etc. They may cross public or private land and provide an operational zone in our crews can safely access electric lines and poles to:
● Repair or replace
Maintaining our rights of way to keep them free and clear of trees, brush overgrowth and ground-level vegetation that can impede vehicle access is critical to ensuring reliable power delivery, and minimizing the threat of storm damage to our distribution system. The goal of ROW maintenance is to reduce the number and duration of outages.
Clearing Rights of Way
OREMC uses tree contractors to both mechanically and manually cut our 3,500+ miles of distribution lines. Brush chippers and mowers are used to help clean up and manage ground-level vegetation. The ROW maintenance program is on a four-year cycle, meaning every four years specific areas of our system are trimmed. A year after a section of ROW is mechanically cut, it is evaluated for selective herbicide application. This is done to control the amount of brush that sprouts, as 15 new stems can sprout from a single cut stem.
Danger Tree Program
In addition to clearing trees and brush located in our rights of way, our ISA Certified Arborists evaluate trees located outside our rights of way that pose a threat to our distribution system. If deemed a hazard and having the potential to fall on our power lines, these trees are taken down. In 2018: 7 percent of outages were due to trees and vegetation within our ROW and 6 percent of outages were caused by danger trees outside of our ROW