Before a storm ever hits, York Electric Cooperative is working to prevent power outages. We take a proactive approach through an ongoing, year-round process of maintaining our electrical system rights of way.
We are constantly cleaning, clearing, and trimming trees, brush and debris away from our power lines. Why? When wind, rain, ice or snow weigh down or damage trees—these trees or their limbs can fall onto or come in contact with power lines and cause outages.
Our ongoing right-of-way maintenance program helps ensure safe, reliable electric service to our members. You have probably seen our maintenance contract crew’s vehicles and equipment trimming trees and clearing corridors beneath and along our power lines. Did you know that vegetation, trees, shrubs and brush growing too close to power lines and electric distribution equipment leads to approximately 15 percent of power interruptions? Maintaining clean and clear system rights of way also allows YEC to restore service to members quicker and more efficiently after storms that may have caused outages by affording us better access to damaged lines.
Since it is not feasible for us to clear rights of way on our entire electrical system every year, trees often grow a great deal by the time the crews return. It is an ongoing job that’s never done—when the crews finish trimming activities along our more than 3,500 miles of electric distribution lines, vegetation is growing back at the starting point.
Another key reason for keeping our rights of way clear and clean is safety. Accidents happen so quickly. Children climbing trees can be a tragedy if they touch a limb in contact with an energized line or touch the line itself. The result can be severe injury or even death. Adults also are at risk if working around lines in trees. York Electric distribution lines can carry up to 24,000 volts—even a touch can be deadly.
Trees beautify our property, help cool our homes, provide privacy screens, and even sometimes increase our property value if placed properly. Unfortunately, trees and power lines are not a good mix. Trees growing into lines can cause blinks and power outages.
Before planting trees in your yard, think about how tall they may grow and how wide their branches may spread. As a rule of thumb, 25 feet of ground-to-sky clearance should be available on each side of our utility poles and lines to give power lines plenty of space. Choose tree varieties with care and plant with power lines in mind.
Thanks for your cooperation—that’s what makes YEC work!