Right of Way Clearing Program
Right of way clearing is an important part of Escambia River Electric Cooperative’s goal of delivering safe, reliable, cost-effective electric service. Through an integrated vegetation management program, EREC maintains vegetation on more than 1,700 miles of energized line in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties and keeping power on to over 11,000 members. Trees and branches that grow into the power lines can cause outages and system disturbances especially when we have severe storm and wind conditions. Tree and brush clearing can help reduce the number and length of outages. By keeping the brush and shrubbery out of the right of way, emergency repairs can be completed faster and the length of outages reduced. In order to maintain an adequate level of reliability and to ensure a high-standard of quality service to our members, EREC monitors and manages vegetation growth that may create a potential problem.
Existing overhead lines and equipment are evaluated to ensure appropriate clearances are maintained. The growth cycle of trees and brush is also looked at; some faster-growing trees may require more clearance than others. The EREC ROW crews have demonstrated due diligence in removing and trimming only what is necessary. In some cases a tree may not look as though it will create a line conflict, but during bad weather it can contact the overhead lines. Tree branches can cause blinking lights or momentary outages during heavy winds when they come in contact with power lines.
“When trees grow too close to power lines, the potential for costly repairs also grows. Suddenly, minor restoration efforts become major restoration efforts,” says Tony Burnham, Manager of Safety and Vegetation at EREC. “Our ROW crew works hard all year long to ensure power lines operate efficiently and without undue interruption of service. “
Trimming trees close to a high-voltage power lines pose serious risk. In fact, tree trimmers who work in close proximity to power lines and other equipment are required to have special training to ensure safe work procedures for themselves and the public. Mulch is free to our members as a result of this program and can be picked up at any of our office locations.
If you have a tree that is within 10 feet of an EREC overhead line or have concerns that a tree could hit the line, please call EREC at (850) 675-4521 or (800) 235-3848 for a consultation for possible trimming or removal.