Increasing reliability with vegetation management

Increasing reliability with vegetation management

PART 1

In celebration of Oklahoma’s Arbor Day — the last full week of March — we are sharing with you our vegetation management practices and how they align with our mission to improve our members’ quality of life through the safe delivery of highly reliable, reasonably priced electric service, innovative energy programs and exceptional member service.

CEO Patrick Grace in his column on page 2 encourages you to plant all the trees you want, as long as they are in a location that doesn’t interfere with our lines and, therefore, our ability to provide you with safe, reliable electricity. Visit www.okcoop.org for helpful tips regarding tree placement in conjunction with utility lines.

TREES, POWER LINES AND SAFETY

OEC policy states a minimum of 10 feet must separate all lines and equipment from tree branches. This allows our crews to safely work on lines when needed and ensures our service to you is reliable and uninterrupted. 

When trees make contact with power lines, the safety of everyone in or near that tree is at risk. For example, a child climbing a tree that is touching a power line provides the electricity a path to the ground, causing serious injury or even a fatality.

Another example would be a property owner attempting to trim trees in or near power lines and accidentally making contact. 

We cannot stress enough the importance of letting qualified professionals trim or remove trees around power lines. If you have this kind of work to be done, we will happily clear the trees in our power lines free of charge. Just give us a call at 321-2024. 

TREES AND RELIABILITY

Did you know trees account for several of our avoidable outages and are often time consuming to restore? 

Each time a limb brushes a line, it scars it. Over time, those scars affect the amperage (the strength of the electric current) and, if left unmaintained, leads to brown-outs or complete failure of the line. In fact, this scenario became real life for members near Noble in 2016. Thousands of members lost power simply because trees had worn down the efficiency of the power lines in which they were entangled. 

This helps explain our approach to vegetation management: The less trees we have to contend with near our lines, the less outages our members will experience.

This is part one of a two-part series on vegetation management. Next month, we will look at the affordability of tree maintenance.

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