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SERVICES


Green Country


The lush foliage of Northeastern Oklahoma can be a Detriment to Dependable Electric Service


he lush shade trees and vegeta- tion that provide welcome shade and beautiful landscaping can also be one of the most effective culprits of outages and blinking lights. That is why VVEC’s right-of-way maintenance pro- gram is an aggressive, year-round effort. “It’s called ‘Green Country’ for a


T


reason,” says VVEC Brush Coordina- tor Lon Lambert. “Trees and brush are constantly growing into our right-of-way. In the spring and summer, they get into the lines, and in the winter they can be weighted down by ice and snow and fall into the lines, sometimes literally taking the lines down.” Since delivering dependable, reliable electric service is a priority for VVEC, a great deal of emphasis, and funding, is placed on keeping the rights-of-way clear of those trees and brush. VVEC has eight contract crews from


These two photos show how quickly trees


can grow back into electric lines if not cutback far enough or removed entirely. The photo on top was taken shortly after


the trees were cut in the spring of 2010. The property owner did not want VVEC to clear cut under the power line. The bottom photo is at the same location,


and was taken in June 2011. The trees are already growing back into the lines, and can cause interruptions in service to anyone who gets their electricity from this line.


Hardin Tree, Inc., an Oologah-based company, who work substation by sub- station cutting back brush, or removing it entirely from VVEC right-of-way. “There are six bucket truck crews, a


Fecon crew and a SkyTrim crew,” says Lambert, adding all the vehicles are marked with signs on the side indicat- ing they are contractors for the coopera- tive. “Hardin crews target only those species of trees that reach the power lines. “After that, we follow up with a


pesticide designed to stop the growth of any trees or vegetation that try to grow


back.” Lambert points out the pesticide affects only the targeted vegetation and is safe on other types of vegetation, humans, and livestock. Lambert says he sprayed more than 253 miles of electric line in 2010. Also, 1,318,245 feet of line were cleared, and 152,027 trees were removed in 2010. By June 13, 2011, 599,557 feet of line have been cleared, and 43,020 trees have been removed. “Trees in our lines affect members


in two ways,” explains Lambert. “First, power quality is affected. Trees cause outages and interruptions in service. And in this day when so much of our lives involve technology and electronics, interruptions in electric service can be more than just annoying. “Also, there is the expense. The ex- pense of clearing the lines, no matter if we use contract crews or our own crews, and the expense of our line crews when they have to go to a location to restore service interrupted due to trees.” Lambert goes on to explain there


is the expense of repeated trips to the same location when property own- ers don’t allow the rights-of-way to be cleared effectively. The photos to the left show the same location approximately one year apart. The bottom photo shows how much of the growth has returned in that brief time.


Continued on page 4. July 2011 VVEC Power Circuit 3


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