Right of Way
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At SVEC, the operations department is in charge of the day-to-day management of over 4,100 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.
Right of Way Requirements
Before a power line can be built, we require right of way easements from property owners along the selected route as necessary. The member will be responsible for cutting and clearing this right of way.
What is a Right of Way Easement?
A right of way is a type of easement or agreement that grants a utility the right to use, access or transit a piece of property according to the terms of the easement. This easement is typically granted by property owners to an electric utility for the purpose of constructing, operating and maintaining power lines and other equipment.
Vegetation Management Program
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.
Like most electric utilities, SVEC utilizes 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 trimming trees near power lines. Trimming trees on a consistent cycle is necessary for safety as it prevents unwanted contact between tree limbs and lines.
Additionally, safety as it relates to clearance is directly related to service reliability. Because we live in an area where inclement weather is common, 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 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 continually patrols its lines for hazardous or “danger trees”. Trees considered “danger trees” are 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.
Tree Planting Near Power Lines
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.