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The Importance of Vegetation Management
Did you know that the August 14, 2003 blackout was the result of a tree on a right-of-way in Ohio that came into contact with a power line and triggered that massive loss of power?
All electric utilities must manage vegetation around power lines for various reasons. Vegetation is one of the leading causes of outages on both distribution and transmission systems. In addition, to increased costs for the REA, tree and power line conflicts pose serious safety issues for both utility employees and others. Most importantly as an electric utility, the West Wetaskiwin REA must comply with all legislated safety rules (e.g., Alberta Electrical Utilities Codes, etc.) regarding managing vegetation around power lines.
In response to vegetation management economic and operational concerns, a minimum clearance for trees and other vegetation has been established and must be maintained. The Utility Right-of-Way (ROW) gives the West Wetaskiwin REA the right to carry out vegetation management programs, including the removal of trees and brush. West Wetaskiwin REA is responsible for all vegetation management on all the distribution lines up to and including the transformer pole. REA members are responsible for all vegetation on their respective secondary lines after the transformer pole.
The West Wetaskiwin REA Utility Right-of-Way (ROW) clearances are as follows:
Single phase – 12 meters – 6 meters (19.7 feet) on either side of the line
Three phase – 14 meters – 7 meters (23 feet) on either side of the line
West Wetaskiwin REA offers members three options for vegetation management of the distribution system within their ROW area, but strongly recommends Option 1 as the most cost efficient.
Option 1: Clear Cut – West Wetaskiwin REA will remove all the vegetation and subsequently the ROW will be controlled by spraying at no cost to the member. Please note the ROW is six meters on either side of the existing line on an established site and new construction sites.
Option 2: If members give permission to remove the brush, but do not want to use spray to control regrowth, the member must control all vegetation to a height of no more than two meters from the ground. If the members fail to meet this standard the REA will clear cut the area and bill the member for all costs incurred.
Option 3: Trimming – If members request trees on their site to be trimmed all costs incurred will be paid by the member.
If no option is chosen above, the member’s choice will automatically default to option 1.
Additionally, it is important to note the attaching of any objects to power poles (e.g., signs, birdhouses, etc.) is prohibited as they create safety hazards for the Powerline Technicians climbing the poles.
For basic tree planting information to assist in your landscape planning, download the following:
Visit this page to find out more about our programs to maintain safe vegetation around power assets.
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Are you experiencing a power outage or electrical emergency?
Please contact Fortis Alberta:
780-310-9473 (310-WIRE) or toll-free: 1-855-333-9473 (333-WIRE)
West Wetaskiwin REA R.R.# 1 Station Main Wetaskiwin, Alberta T9A 1W8 Phone: 780-335-9378 (WEST) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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