Right-of-Way: Clearing a Path for Power

edge of clear zone is 30 feet from power linesWhen Oklahoma’s seasonal storms arrive—bringing with them wind and ice—dependable electric service demands a clear right-of-way.

At People’s Electric Cooperative (PEC), we work hard to keep our rights-of-way clear and the power flowing strong for our members— no matter what conditions Mother Nature sends our way. Right-of-way trimming is necessary to ensure greater safety for workers and the public and to ensure more reliable service for you, our member.

Trees are one of the leading causes of unplanned service interruptions, including both sustained and momentary interruptions. Trees growing in power lines can cause blinking lights or power outages and can be deadly to you. Not only do electric lines come down, but utility poles can snap due to the weight of fallen trees, causing lengthy power outages.

PEC employs full-time right-of-way contractors handling various maintenance demands throughout our service territory for both trimming and removing trees. These crews navigate oftentimes challenging terrain to handle clearing tasks throughout the year and to also apply herbicide on a seasonal basis.

Safety is also a concern when maintaining the approximate 4,000 miles of primary line in PEC’s service area. When a tree limb comes into contact with the power line, the electricity flows from the wire (conductor) through the tree to the ground (earth). Attempts to remove a fallen limb touching the power line must be handled with the utmost caution by trained staff in order to prevent injury or, in the worst case, a fatality.

“The struggle to keep PEC’s ROW clear is an ongoing battle,” explains Lee McElroy, Director of Environmental Services. “Oklahoma’s climate makes vegetation growth multiply at exponential rates. To better manage the excess growth that we’re seeing, PEC’s Board of Trustees and management have adopted a ground-to-sky policy to lessen the need for repeat trimming.”

Today, PEC removes vegetation that is in our right of way for the whole easement of the powerline. PEC’s easements are 30 feet wide with 15 feet on both sides of the center line.

If you see a tree touching an electric line, in danger of falling into the electric line, or if you have any questions regarding tree trimming, contact PEC’s Vegetation Management Department at (580) 332-3031.