Managing vegetation around transmission lines
To help ensure public safety and the safe and reliable operation of the electric transmission system, DATC will remove incompatible vegetation from power line rights-of-way. Tall-growing trees and other incompatible vegetation can be hazardous to public and worker safety. They also can threaten electric service reliability and risk damage to the electric system. Dense, woody vegetation also can impede access to poles and structures for crews to inspect, maintain and repair lines.
Vegetation management practices guided by industry standards
Power outages that occur on high-voltage power lines are much more serious than those that occur on lower voltage distribution lines because many thousands of homes and businesses can be impacted. Equally important are the hazards associated with the risk of arcing and fires when power lines and trees are in close proximity.
Between 1996 and 2003, the number and serious nature of transmission grid failures increased as a result of vegetation contacts with high-voltage power lines. The 2003 East Coast widespread outage affected 50 million people in the eastern U.S. and Canada for extended periods of time. The federal government responded by developing mandatory reliability standards requiring transmission utilities to establish vegetation management programs with the goal of preventing outages caused by trees and vegetation. DATC has a program that accomplishes this goal by using practices that align with easements rights and industry standards.
Focus on public safety, electric reliability
DATC’s vegetation management program helps ensure that adequate clearances between power lines, trees and other vegetation are maintained at all times. DATC’s program takes into account tree and vegetation growth rates, line sagging and blowing, maintenance cycles, extreme weather conditions, and the potential for arcing electricity–a dangerous situation that occurs when electricity “jumps” from the wires to another source that can conduct electricity. When all of these factors are combined, the safe clearances between trees and power lines are larger than past practices or than many property owners may believe necessary.