If you answered this question by saying trees coming into contact with power lines, you would be right! Trees contribute to over half of the outage times and blinks on our system. This is why Union Power has a dedicated, year-round vegetation management program to maintain right-of-way areas to increase reliability and protect over 6,000 miles of power lines on our system.
On the last page of this newsletter, we list the roads in our service area that will be receiving right-of-way clearing during the month. But what does this mean? Here’s a quick overview of why right-of-way maintenance is important.
A right-of-way is the area around our lines that Union Power has access to in order to maintain or repair the electric system. When trees or limbs fall on our power lines, particularly during severe weather, there’s a greater chance of power outages within our communities. While we can’t control the weather, we can take steps to deliver the most reliable power possible.
By performing routine right-of-way maintenance, we can reduce the risk of outages due to fallen branches and trees. When outages do occur, right-of-way preventative maintenance helps shorten the duration of the outages because power lines are easy to access and not overgrown with trees. A clear path to power lines creates a safer working environment for line technicians, whether they’re performing routine maintenance or power restoration.
Members can help by avoiding planting trees near power lines. For existing trees that are directly in the cooperative’s rights-of-way, Union Power helps with removal and replacement.