Brewing coffee. Charging a cell phone. Watching a television show. Many daily activities require a safe and reliable supply of electricity. One approach to ensure reliable service involves controlling the growth of trees and other vegetation in transmission rights-of-way, the sections of land where transmission power lines are located.
AEP Transmission's vegetation management program helps balance the need for reliable service with respect for the natural environment. The company uses contract forestry crews to complete vegetation management work.
What's the Difference: Transmission Versus Distribution?
Transmission lines are high-voltage and extra-high voltage lines that carry electricity from power plants to substations, which reduce the voltage for delivery to customers on distribution lines. The process and requirements for clearing and maintaining vegetation differ around transmission and distribution lines.
Did You Know?
Property owners should never trim or remove tree limbs near power lines. Trained vegetation management crews know how to complete this work.
Crews can remove trees and other woody-stemmed plants to control vegetation growth over the long term. Crews may also trim trees using any of the following methods based on an area's terrain, accessibility and other factors:
Crews use manual or mechanical equipment during routine maintenance to clear woody-stemmed vegetation within and along rights-of-way.
Herbicides help control the root systems of woody-stemmed vegetation. Licensed applicators use herbicides registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the appropriate state regulatory agency.
Crews may keep vegetation debris on the right-of-way to decompose naturally in unmaintained areas. This process returns nutrients to the soil and reduces the possibility of soil erosion.
Maintaining clear rights-of-way ensures the electrical grid's reliability for customers while keeping the public and power line crews safe. Company representatives work with property owners to communicate upcoming work, discuss clearing practices and address concerns prior to conducting work.
Tips To Stay Safe and Prevent Outages:
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) created standards that require utilities to establish minimum clearance distances between transmission lines and the nearest vegetation. Non-compliance can lead to significant penalties for utilities.
Crews remove trees and woody-stemmed vegetation within transmission rights-of-way. The extent of vegetation clearing depends on the voltage of the transmission line, the type of transmission structures, terrain and other factors.
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