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SVEC Operations At SVEC, the Operations Department is in charge of the day-to-day management of over 4,300 miles of electric distribution. Operations is of great importance as it constructs and maintains SVEC’s infrastructure, insuring safe and reliable energy delivery.
Because our power lines interface with private property, we often receive questions concerning several issues. The information below provides some insight and answers to some of these frequent questions and concerns.
To protect the investment of established infrastructure and new construction projects, it is imperative that we take a pro-active approach in dealing with vegetation growing under and beside power lines. Most electric utilities utilize a diverse approach in dealing with unwanted vegetation growing under power lines. This includes, but is not limited to tree trimming, herbicide application, mowing, and tree removal.
Safety and Service Reliability are the two most important and necessary reasons for pruning trees that interface with power lines. Scheduled tree pruning on a consistent cycle is necessary for safety as it prevents unwanted contact between tree limbs and conductors. Additionally, safety as it relates to clearance is directly related to service reliability. Because we live in an area where inclement weather is more probable, it’s that much more important that we maintain clearance. During storms and high winds, trees and limbs can sway and make contact with power lines ultimately causing service interruptions or prolonged outages.
Ideally, trees should be pruned before they actually touch the power lines. With this in mind, it is important that enough clearance be achieved to ensure trees and limbs do not come in contact with the power line before the next trimming cycle (once every 3-5 years).
SVEC constantly patrols circuits for hazardous or “danger trees”. Trees considered “danger trees” are dead trees and some living trees that impose an imminent threat to infrastructure. Due to lightning, standing water, and disease, dead trees are common and are a safety hazard to the general public because of falling potential onto roadways and power lines. SVEC may remove green trees as well that are directly under or so close to power lines that they require drastic measures to prune.
SVEC’s Operations Department supports the philosophy of “The Right Tree in the Right Place” as a means of promoting tree species that are more “friendly” to power lines. This would include trees that don’t get tall enough to come in contact with power lines, are native to the area, and have good longevity.
SVEC utilizes herbicides to selectively treat unwanted vegetation in our rights-of-way. Generally, this application is done post-trimming to lessen stem count of woody species which helps ensure safety, service reliability, and easement access. All herbicides used on SVEC property are registered and regulated by the EPA, and applied by licensed personnel.