Severe weather that involves ice, wind and lightning, which can result in damage to trees and power lines is the major cause of outages. With more than 8,000 miles of power lines to protect, your electric cooperative works year-round on our vegetation management program to ensure members enjoy the most reliable electricity possible. This effort has also placed Blue Ridge among the best performing utilities in the nation for reliability.
Vegetation management occurs in our rights-of way. What is a right- of-way? It’s a corridor or strip of land along either side of power lines that allows our linemen a safety zone while building and maintaining the power system to ensure you receive reliable electricity. The majority of our system is made up of distribution lines which carry power from substations to homes and businesses. The right-of-way for this type of line is a total of 30 feet (15 feet on each side).
Blue Ridge Energy is a unique cooperative in that we must also build and maintain our own transmission system.
These high-voltage power lines deliver electricity from our supplier in the foothills to reach our mountain district members. The right-of-way for these lines ranges from a total of 100 to 250 feet, depending on the voltage of the line.
Many people don’t know that power lines carrying electricity can energize anything or anyone that gets too close to the line, including a tree or tree limb, ladder, or even a wet kite string. Maintained rights-of-way help ensure that trees don’t get close enough to power lines to energize them, and while this helps keep electricity reliable, it also helps keep people and even animals from being electrocuted or severely injured.
Our vegetation management program combines several methods to control growth — all with the goal of balancing the beauty of our area while ensuring safe, reliable electricity.