Cooperative News

PEC finds savings with new vegetation maintenance software

Program helps cooperative prioritize workload

Trees and power lines can be a dangerous combination, which is why vegetation management is very important for electric utilities. Staying diligent about trimming trees around power lines is critical not only for delivering reliable electricity, but for the safety of our lineworkers — and the public.

Vegetation management is a big job, and as the largest electric cooperative in the country, it’s a time consuming and costly program, but one that is absolutely necessary.

That’s why PEC Director of System Maintenance Ted Hodgkiss is excited about a new software solution that is bringing efficiencies to our vegetation management program. The software overlays satellite imagery and IBM data sources on PEC’s maps, allowing us to see which lines need maintenance now and which can wait.

“This solution is going to be a game changer for our industry and for PEC, specifically,” Hodgkiss said. “It is going to provide information that is necessary to make good, sound business decisions to make more affordable and reliable electric [service], and to have a safer environment in which to operate our system.”

The software is expected to help reduce the amount of time spent surveying and trimming trees, resulting in a big financial savings to the cooperative. As a nonprofit utility, that means savings for our members. It also means we are accessing member properties less often, and shifting some work from the field to the office, which reduces exposure to safety hazards.

Learn how IBM and PEC use Watson to manage vegetation around power lines.

At PEC, we are always looking for innovative solutions to make our service more reliable, safe, and affordable. Programs like these demonstrate our member-focused commitment to being a leader in the industry.