Boone Electric Cooperative’s primary goal is to provide safe, reliable power to our members. To succeed at that goal, the cooperative maintains an aggressive Right-of-Way program.
The cooperative maintains nearly 3,000 miles of distribution line (including nearly 2,000 overhead miles) to ensure our service reliability. Two BEC crews and up to 10 contract crews make their way along the distribution lines, trimming trees back a reasonable distance. Crew members clear the right of way in a variety of ways, using the safest and most efficient method. They climb trees and trim limbs with a chainsaw, use the chainsaw from the bucket truck, or attach a hand saw to a long pole for hard-to-reach limbs. They also use brush mowers and other ground-moving equipment to clear the area beneath the power lines.
The tree trimming crews each work a circuit around Boone Electric’s service territory. The Right-of-Way Department’s goal is to clear the rights of way near all of the co-op’s distribution lines in a five-year rotation. By the time the crews return to areas trimmed just a few years prior, new saplings have grown and new limbs sprouted. The tree trimming work is never ending.
In the early summer, crews spray an environmentally safe herbicide to help clear new growth under the power lines.
The cooperative informs landowners before applying the herbicide, which is safe to animals and humans. A low-volume spray is also aimed directly at tree saplings.
BEC contracts crews from several outside tree trimming businesses to help maintain cooperative rights of way. Each of these crews will have a sign on their truck, signifying them as a contract crew.
Taller-growing trees planted too close to power lines can increase the cooperative’s maintenance costs. View a diagram of the proper planting areas for trees around your home.
If we remove a yard tree that is interfering with power lines, we may replace the tree for free with a shorter-growing species. Members can choose from several species of trees or bushes. A local nursery contractor will then plant the new species a safe distance from power lines.
To report a tree that may be interfering with a power line, call Boone Electric Cooperative at 449-4181 and ask for the Right-of-Way Department.
Larger trees that are planted around utility easements create a potentially dangerous safety hazard by providing children an opportunity to play near power lines. When a tree limb comes in contact with a power line, there is a definite possibility of shock injury to a child or adult touching or climbing the tree.
Large-growing trees located in easement areas also increase the chance of an outage (or blinking lights) as well as increase the amount of time it will take to correct that outage by preventing equipment access and reducing visibility.
If our maintenance crews can't see down the right-of-way, they must hunt among the branches to locate the problem, which is extremely time-consuming and dangerous.
Trees near power lines increase Boone Electric's maintenance costs.