What is utility right-of-way?
The power companies across the nation have been maintaining their right-of-ways for as long as the poles have been in the ground. These corridors are mere pathways of poles and power lines crisscrossing the nation. These right-of-way corridors are typically in rough terrain, swamps, timberlands, and through forests. The myriad of different ecosystems require multiple methods of maintenance. These requirements include mowing, herbicide application and tree removal. Herbicide application can be from very selective individual stem treatments, backpack brush treatments, high volume brush treatment or an aerial broadcast application.
Why does the Utility Company require maintenance? The power lines and poles require inspections and sometimes repair. The workers need safe access to the equipment. The poles, bases, guide wires, and the lines are inspected on a regular basis as required by law. The utility company has to maintain the integrity of the grid to insure reliability. Today’s population does not want to lose power for a day.
The objective of the vegetation management plan is to control the growth of trees that could potentially grow high enough to short out the line, causing a power outage. The largest blackout in the US was back on August 14th, 2003, when a single powerline was grounded out by a tree below. The chain of outages from that site affected many states as other lines had to carry the excessive load causing them to overheat and also short out to ground. The nation’s power grid is connected like a spider web across the country. The utilities can share the power as necessary to fill in where there are shortages.
Our right-of-way management team works together with the utility, the mowing contractors, and the tree cutting company to manage the right-of ways we are contracted to maintain. Herbicide application goals are to reduce the stem counts per acre. Regularly scheduled herbicide applications can make the mowing cycle easier and faster. Once the ROW is maintained properly the mowing and spraying events can be reduced. The ROW becomes a more beneficial habitat for many species of plants and animals.
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