Photo of Jeff Clark, CEOOne of the things I love best about our community is the natural beauty surrounding us. We are fortunate to have so many trees that offer beauty, shade, and a habitat for birds and other wildlife. I’m sure you appreciate our community for many of the same reasons.

At JOEMC, we strive to balance maintaining beautiful surroundings and ensuring a reliable power supply by keeping power lines clear in rights-of-way (ROW).

While we recognize and appreciate the beauty of trees, there are three main benefits to tree trimming in ROW areas. However, before touching on the main reasons, let me explain what a “right-of-way” is and how it may impact you. A right-of-way is the land we use to construct, maintain, replace or repair underground and overhead power lines. Right-of-way enables the co-op to provide clearance from trees and other obstructions that could hinder the power line installation, maintenance, or operation. ROW areas are typically on public lands or located near a business or home. Regardless, JOEMC must be able to maintain the power lines above and below the ROW. The overall goal of our vegetation management program is to provide reliable power to our members while maintaining the beauty of our community. Proactive vegetation management benefits co-op members in three tangible ways.

 

SAFETY
First and foremost, we care about our members and put their safety and our lineworkers’ safety above all else. Overgrown vegetation and trees pose a risk to power lines. For example, trees touching power lines in our members’ yards can pose a grave danger 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 diminishes the chances of fallen branches or trees during severe weather events, making it more complicated and dangerous for lineworkers to restore power.

 

RELIABILITY
One of the most significant benefits of a smart vegetation management program is reliability. Strategic tree trimming reduces the frequency of downed lines causing power outages. Generally speaking, healthy trees don’t fall on power lines, and clear lines don’t cause problems. Proactive trimming and pruning keep lines clear to promote reliability.

We also use data and technology to maximize the efficiency of our operation, which includes our vegetation management plan. Cooperative crews manage unwanted vegetation on the right-of-way utilizing various methods that are periodically evaluated for safety and environmental impact. JOEMC uses an Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) approach, which includes mechanical (equipment such as tractors and chain saws) and chemical methods.

 

AFFORDABILITY
As you know, Jones-Onslow is a not-for-profit cooperative, which means we strive to keep our costs in check to keep our rates affordable. This 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.

 

Our community is a special place. We appreciate the beauty trees afford, but we also know our community de- pends on us to provide reliable energy. Through vegetation management, we are better able to keep the power lines clear, prepare for future weather events, and secure the reliability of the grid.

If you would like to read more about our ROW maintenance program, visit our right-of-way page on our website.