Price Electric Cooperative (PEC) developed a vegetation management program to ensure the safety, reliability, and affordability of electric service. Guidelines were adopted allowing for uniform clearing based on established specifications. Consideration is given according to urban or rural specifications.
What is Vegetation Management?
Vegetation management techniques allow PEC to keep the area around overhead and underground lines clear of trees and other vegetation. This requires a seven year cycle consisting of mechanical clearing followed by herbicide application. Since trees are the leading cause of outages, an effective vegetation management program is vital.
PEC Right-of-Way Clearing Guidelines, Methods & Procedures
PEC Herbicide Guidelines, Methods & Procedures
Key Metrics for ROW Clearing
- Right-of-Way: Defined as the strip of land over which the power line extends.
- PEC’s overhead right-of-way widths are 40 feet (both single and multiphase overhead lines), measured perpendicularly from the centerline of the power line outward 20 feet in both directions. Exceptions to the above, as designated by an authorized PEC representative.
- PEC’s underground right-of-way widths are 20 feet (both single and multiphase underground lines), measured perpendicularly from the centerline of the power line outward 10 feet in both directions. Exceptions to the above, as designated by an authorized PEC representative.
- Maintained Yard Area: Defined as a plot of land where a landowner has dedicated time and incurred expense to landscape, consistently tend to, and mow grass to an even height to establish a yard or yard like area.
- PEC reserves the right to make the final determination of the above areas.
- Rural: Defined as any primary lines not within a maintained lawn area near approved lakeshore, dwelling, or business including the primary maintained driveway entrance that have been initially cleared to the 40 foot rural specification.
- Urban: Defined as any primary lines within a maintained lawn area near approved lakeshore, dwelling, business excluding the primary maintained driveway entrance that have been initially cleared to the 10 foot, single phase, or 15 foot, three phase, urban specification.
- Danger or hazardous tree: Defined as a tree having one or more of the following characteristics, which may conflict with the conductors or structures (poles and hardware) if such tree(s) fell in the direction or otherwise endangers the PEC line.
- Dead or dying - all dead or dying trees along or outside the PEC right-of-way. Removal depends on height of tree and direction of the lean.
- Leaning trees - trees that have such a lean toward the right-of-way that they cannot be trimmed without removing the tops and slanting the tree back. Removal depends on height and species of the tree and direction of the lean.
- Cankers and canker-rots - present as a localized area of dead bark and cambium on trees on the bark of trunk around the circumference of the tree and often are visible on the canker face. In some cases, canker-rots are internal and not visible.
- Animal and mechanical damage - present in the main trunk and broken branches, and must show visible signs of decay with evidence of wounds.
Refer to Table 1 and Table 2 Hazard Tree defect categories (Exhibit B) provided by Wisconsin and Minnesota Departments of Natural Resources, Lancaster & Associates and by the USDA Forest Service.
Before ROW Clearing
After ROW Clearing
Primary Lines Rights-of-Way for Urban/Residential and Rural Sites
The Contractor shall meet the required right-of-way width in designated areas by removing and/or trimming trees and other woody vegetation all diameter breasts height (dbh) classes. The work shall meet the authorized PEC representative’s approval. Refer to Urban Diagram #2 and Rural Diagram #1.
As designated by the authorized PEC representative. Large mature trees and fruit bearing trees (i.e., apple trees) within the urban defined right-of-way may not require removal. The aforementioned, fruit bearing trees or yard trees that remain within the right-of-way shall be trimmed in accordance to the PEC right-of-way clearing specifications per Diagram #3.
- Clear within a 20 foot radius around all primary poles for a rural right-of-way and a 15-foot radius for an urban right-of-way. Other vegetation (shrubs, etc.) shall be cleared within a 5-foot radius including maintained yard areas.
Overhead Guy Stubs
- Clear within a 5-foot radius of a stub guy pole(s).
- Clear within a 5-foot radius of an anchor(s).
Single Phase Line:
- Rural: 30 feet (15 feet either side of the center line). Ground-to-sky cutting, trimming, mowing, and herbicide application.
- Urban: 20 feet (10 feet either side of the center line). Ground-to-sky cutting, trimming, mowing, and herbicide application.
Three Phase or Multiphase Line:
- Rural: 40 feet (20 feet either side of the center line). Ground-to-sky cutting, trimming, mowing, and herbicide application.
- Urban: 30 feet (15 feet either side of the center line). Ground-to-sky cutting, trimming, mowing, and herbicide application.
Note: All of PEC’s right-of-way classifications, urban or rural for either single-phase or multi-phase lines, consists of a total 40 foot wide easement width regardless of vegetation width established in clearing activities. Right-of-ways identified by contractor as rural but were originally cleared to urban specification should be reported to an authorized PEC representative. These areas will be addressed individually and cleared at the discretion of PEC.
Clearing the Right-of-Way
Options to modify right-of-way clearing may be offered to individual landowners or groups of adjacent landowners that object to clearing according to the standards indicated by the PEC right-of-way program. In providing these options, PEC seeks to enable individual members to choose methods for right-of-way clearance that best address their concerns while preventing the burden of costs for use of non-standard procedures from being placed upon PEC members as a whole. Because of varying site conditions, not all options will be offered in all locations.
- Relocation of lines: Where consistent with PEC standards for line maintenance/improvement, rerouting of lines or moving lines underground at the member’s expense will be considered. Rerouting must follow PEC guidelines, and accessibility to the lines must be as good as or better than at the original location. In locations where groups of landowners must agree to rerouting, it is the responsibility of interested landowners to negotiate agreement with adjacent landowners and obtain necessary easements before rerouting can proceed. If such agreement cannot be obtained within a time frame specified by PEC, right-of-way clearing will proceed unless other options are negotiated individually with PEC.
- Relocation of trees: Member will be given the opportunity to move the tree in a reasonable amount of time. Moving a tree which could come within 10’ of an energized line requires contacting PEC and coordinating removal.
- Herbicide application allows woody vegetation to be controlled which allows native grasses and flowers to grow. PEC utilizes a seven-year cycle of ROW clearing, with initial mechanical clearing followed by one growing season and two consecutive years of foliar treatment (herbicide) to eliminate woody vegetation. Herbicide is applied in the months of June, July, and August.
- PEC’s Herbicide Program allows a member to decline the use of herbicide application on property(s) they own provided they meet certain requirements.
- Current signed No Herbicide Use-Request is on file.
- Description of area not to be treated with boundaries marked.
- PEC preapproved herbicides
- Mix #1 Foliar Mix added to 100 gallons of water:
- Garlon 3A 33.33%
- Milestone 2.60%
- Aquafact 16.67%
- Water 47.40%
- Escort XP 15 oz
- Mix #2 Wetland Mix added to 4 gallons of water:
- Accord 7.5 ounces
- Mix #1 Foliar Mix added to 100 gallons of water:
Vegetation Management/ROW FAQ's:
PEC is on a seven-year cycle, which means all trees are removed from the established easement every seven years.
Mechanical clearing is followed by one growing season and two consecutive years of foliar treatment (herbicide) to eliminate woody vegetation.
Herbicide is applied in the months of June, July, and August.
The most distinctive piece of equipment used is the Jarraff mechanical tree trimmer. It looks similar to a small crane but has a circular cutting blade attached to the end of the boom. The blade can be moved in any direction to quickly produce precise cuts. Bucket trucks and ATVs are also utilized. Chain saws, tree saws, and pruning tools are used for secondary trimming while a mower, (rubber-tracked or wheeled tractor with a mower attached) performs mowing operations.
PEC uses contractors and employees to perform ROW work.
Our contractors strive to leave right-of-way areas as neat as they were before the work started. Debris produced by trimming will be shredded on-site, where appropriate, or chipped and hauled away for disposal. Large limbs and trees are cut and stacked in the right-of-way. Fallen trees are left where they fall.
If the tree is endangering a power line, a crew will cut it. If part of the tree, when felled, blocks a road or driveway, PEC will move part of the tree to clear a path. However, disposal of the tree will be the member’s responsibility.
Don’t touch the tree, stay back and call PEC.
Notifying PEC and filling out a tree work request form. The tree will need to be marked. Once received as time permits an evaluation of the requested tree will be performed. If possible the requested work will be performed. Clean up of the debris will be the responsibility of the member.