Vegetation management improves reliability for all

Posted on Aug 13 2023 in Southern Indiana Power
Steve Seibert

One of the things I love best about our community is the natural beauty that surrounds us. We are fortunate to have so many trees that offer beauty, shade and a habitat for all sorts of wildlife. We know that you appreciate our community for many of the same reasons. 

At Southern Indiana Power, we strive to balance maintaining beautiful surroundings and ensuring a reliable power supply by keeping our power lines clear in rights-of-way (ROW). A right-of-way is the land we use to construct, maintain, replace or repair underground and overhead power lines. Our rights-of-way measure 20 feet on each side (40 feet total) of the power lines, which enables the co-op to provide clearance from trees and other obstructions that could hinder power line installation, maintenance or operation. The overall goal of our vegetation management program is to provide reliable power to our members while maintaining the beauty of our community. Proactive vegetation management benefits co-op members in three tangible ways:

First and foremost, we care about our members and put their safety and that of our linemen above all else. Overgrown vegetation and trees pose a risk to power lines. For example, if trees are touching power lines in our members’ yards, they can pose an electrocution hazard to families. If children can access those trees, they can potentially climb into an energized danger zone. Trees touching a power line can cause electricity to arc (or jump) down the tree as it acts like a conductor of electricity. A proactive approach also diminishes the chances of fallen branches or trees during severe weather events that make it more complicated and dangerous for lineworkers to restore power to you.  

Of course, one of the biggest benefits of a smart vegetation management program is reliability. Strategic tree trimming reduces the frequency of downed lines causing power outages. Generally speaking, healthy trees don’t fall on power lines, and clear rights-of-way don’t cause problems. Proactive trimming and spraying keeps lines clear to promote reliability. 

As you know, Southern Indiana Power is a not-for-profit cooperative, and that means we strive to keep our costs in check to keep our rates as low as possible. This extends to our approach to vegetation management. If trees grow too close to power lines, the potential for expensive repairs increases. An effective vegetation management program helps keep costs down for everyone. 

Our community is a special place.
We appreciate the beauty trees afford, but we also know our community depends on us to provide reliable energy. Through proper vegetation management, we are able to keep the power lines clear, prepare for future weather events and increase reliability for all.