Cooperative News

Reliability and Value 365: Vegetation maintenance

Proactive, professional tree trimming saves money and outage time

Keeping the lights on isn’t just about springing to action when you lose power; it’s about working every day to ensure you stay powered around the clock. Our Reliability and Value 365 series takes you behind the scenes of how we offer the biggest bang for your buck: strengthening the reliability of our system while putting money back in your pocket.

Tall and stately, gracing us with summer shade. It’s hard to think of the trees surrounding our homes and lining our roads as electrical hazards. But when tree limbs contact the lines carrying your electricity, you’re branching into an area of risk. That’s why our staff includes a team of professionals dedicated entirely to managing tree and other vegetation growth near our equipment.

Our Vegetation Maintenance team’s manager, George Leader, has a keen understanding of how his group protects you, our members, from outages and other hazards.

Penny Whisenant on phone
One of PEC’s certified utility foresters, Penny Whisenant, surveys a potential problem area on a member’s property.

“When trees touch power lines, they can cause fires and outages, especially in wet conditions,” Leader explained. One wet tree limb in the wrong place can knock out power for hundreds of our members.

That’s why Leader and his team take a proactive approach. They trim trees and vegetation away from our lines and electrical equipment on a strategic 3- to 5-year cycle. This not only reduces outages caused by tree limbs contacting lines but also helps prevent energy loss and keeps your rates low.

“Trees touching the power lines contribute to line loss, which is a loss of voltage between a power source and its destination,” PEC Vegetation Maintenance Supervisor Ryan Krause explained. “By trimming back tree limbs and keeping them off lines, we decrease the amount of energy we have to buy. The savings translate to lower rates for our members.”

The team does more than trim trees. They also work with our districts to analyze things like outages and voltage loss in different areas of our service territory, which allows them to be strategic with their resources and budget. Additionally, the trained individuals weave member education into their everyday work, emphasizing the message of “right tree, right place.”

“It’s really important,” Krause said. “Teaching members to be mindful about not planting trees below power lines helps everyone save by preventing future work and future issues.”

Learn more about our Vegetation Maintenance team and see where they’re trimming this year at our Vegetation Maintenance section.