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When a tree grows into a power line, one of two scenarios may occur. First, a broken branch could fall onto the line, breaking the electrical wire. This could cause a power outage, sometimes to a wide geographical area and affecting a large number of people. The broken wire (which could still be "live") could dangle from the utility line, causing a potential hazard to those in the area. If someone touches the line, or even touches the ground around the line, they could be killed instantly or at least severely injured.
Another potential injury could occur if someone tries climbing a tree extending into a power line. The weight of their body may cause a limb to touch the electrical wires, sending electricity from the wire, through the branch, and into the person. The person could be severely injured from the shock, knocked from the tree causing further injury, or killed instantly.
While outages are inconvenient and costly to the cooperative and its members, it is the personal injuries that cooperative officials worry about the most.
To help alleviate these scenarios, the cooperative has implemented a comprehensive tree trimming, or right-of-way program. When possible, branches and limbs are just cut back from the lines, but when offending trees are located within 20 feet on either side of the utility line, Webster prefers to remove the tree to eliminate the hazard completely.
Trees are a big contributor to those dreaded BLINKS! The small interuptions of service that cause all of your electronics to reset themselves... The breaker is operating in the correct way, saving the line from burning down when it detects a fault. Set on what is called a 4-shot system it allows the fault to clear itself without going completly out. Trees swaying in the wind contacting lines can cause blinks, squirrels jumping from limbs to find an untimely death at the bottom of your poles as they contact the wrong wire all can create havoc for everyone on the line. The Senate passed a bill after several large outages in the state were caused by trees. The bill recognizes the Co-op's did business in the beginning with nothing more than a handshake. Many properties had no written easement, although the line had been there through several decades and different property owners. Your cooperative still likes the handshake style of business but can not invest your money by clearing an entire line and leaving one member's trees that may eventually take everyones power out! We will work it out together!
Our goals include:
- the safety of the member, the linemen and the right-of-way crews
- education of members in the reasoning behind tree trimming
- to clear and maintain the system on a regular rotation
- to find the most productive, cost-effective method and system for keep a clear right of way
- to leave the members happier than we found them, through complete education, superior trimming services
If you would like to report a tree encroaching a power line, you may call our Right-of-Way Manager Suzy Hemenway at (417)859-2216 x 7025.
To avoid any trimming at all please check on the size of the canopy spread at maturity!