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Vegetation Management

A major way your co-op works to achieve greater reliability is by being intentional with our tree-trimming efforts.

Although we are a smaller co-op, Prince George Electric Co-op's transmission and distribution span more than 1,300 miles.  That's about half the width of the United States - much of which is covered in rural woodlands.  While we are fortunate to have so many trees that offer beauty, shade, and a habitat for a variety of birds and wildlife, trees have long been a major contributing factor to power outages in areas with overhead utility lines.  Hence, around this time of year, the co-op steps up its efforts to ensure greater system reliability by clearing rights of way.

As part of this effort, contractors will work to control and remove vegetation that could cause power disruptions.  The co-op uses a combination of spraying and trimming techniques to perform right-of-way maintenance on its transmission and distribution system.

To keep equipment free of undesired weeds and plants that may hinder our system's operational efficiency, co-op crews also treat certain areas with a chemical spray.  This spray provides a cost-effective, environmentally safe, and longer-lasting means for managing trees and woody underbrush.  This chemical spray is not harmful to humans or animals.

While we strive to balance maintaining beautiful surroundings and keeping power lines clear, we also know our proactive vegetation management benefits co-op members in very tangible ways:

Safety: First and foremost, we care about our members and put their safety and that of our line technicians above all else.  Overgrown vegetation and trees pose a risk to power lines.  Clearing brush near power lines helps prevent hazards from turning into possible dangers for families and our line technicians.  For example, if trees are touching power lines in our member-owners' yards, they can pose grave dangers to families.  If children can access those trees, they can potentially climb into a danger zone.  electricity can arc, or jump, from a power line to a nearby conductor like a tree. A proactive approach also reduces the chance of fallen branches or trees during severe weather events that make it more complicated and dangerous for line technicians to restore power.

Reliability: A major benefit of a smart vegetation management program is reliability.  Strategic tree trimming reduces the frequency of downed lines causing power outages.  Generally, healthy trees don't fall on power lines, and clear lines don't cause problems.  Proactive trimming and pruning keep lines clear and are key to ensuring that you have power each time to go to flip your light switch.

Affordability: As you know, electric cooperatives are not-for-profit and that means we strive to keep our costs in check to keep rates affordable.  This effort also extends to our approach to vegetation management.  If trees grow too close to power lines, the potential for expensive repairs also increases.  Effective tree trimming and other vegetation management efforts keep costs down for everyone.

PGEC works hard to maintain its rights of way so that we can continue to provide you with the most reliable service possible.  If you notice a tree near an overhead line on our system that may need to be trimmed, please contact the office at (804) 834-2424.

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