One of the most common – and crucial – ways that Access Energy Cooperative provides you with safe, reliable electric service, is referred to as right-of-way (ROW) clearing or vegetation management.
A right of way (ROW) refers to a strip of land underneath or around power lines that your electric cooperative has the right and responsibility to maintain and clear. Trees must grow at a distance far enough from conductors where they will not cause harm to individuals or disruption to electrical service. Specifications can vary, but a general guideline of maintaining a safe ROW is 15 feet of clearance on either side of the primary conductors and 20 feet of overhead clearance above the highest wire on the pole.
Clearing the ROW is critical to keeping our members’ power on. An average of 15% of power interruptions occur when trees, shrubs or bushes grow too close to power lines.
If a tree encroaches on this safe distance, our vegetation management team will trim back branches and brush.
ROW can also help keep your family safe by ensuring that tree branches do not become energized due to close contact with a downed power line. Power lines can carry up to 34,500 volts, and an energized tree branch is incredibly dangerous – even deadly. Be mindful when around trees close to power lines, and make sure your children know that climbing trees near power lines is extremely dangerous.
ROW clearing is also critical to ensuring that we provide members with affordable electricity. Staying ahead of the game keeps us from having to come out during a storm to restore power due to fallen trees.