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Dawson PPD tree pruning methods

Trees are often appreciated for the beauty, shade and habitat they provide birds and other wildlife. At Dawson PPD, we strive to balance maintaining beautiful surroundings and ensuring a reliable power supply by keeping 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. Rights of way enable Dawson PPD to provide clearance from trees and other obstructions that could hinder the power line installation, maintenance or operation. ROW areas are typically on public lands or located near a business or home.

Dawson PPD must be able to maintain the power lines above and below the ROW. To achieve this, the District uses a vegetation management program. The overall goal is to provide reliable power to customers while maintaining the beauty of trees.

We do this by working closely with landowners so we have a mutually beneficial outcome when clearing vegetation. Dawson PPD’s Tree Control Crew is trained to trim trees naturally to the point of growth so trees can recover more quickly.

There are three main benefits to tree trimming in ROW areas.

Safety

We care about our customers and put their safety, and that of our lineworkers, above all else. Overgrown vegetation and trees pose a risk. Electricity can arc, or jump, from a power line to a nearby conductor like a tree. For example, if children climb those trees, they can potentially enter a danger zone.

A proactive approach also diminishes the chances of fallen branches or trees during severe weather events. Fallen trees can make power restoration more complicated and dangerous for lineworkers.

Reliability

One of the biggest benefits of a smart vegetation management program is reliability. Strategic tree trimming reduces the frequency of power outages caused by downed lines. In general, healthy trees don’t fall on power lines and clear lines don’t cause problems. Proactive trimming and pruning keeps lines clear to promote reliability.

We also use data and technology to maximize the efficiency of our vegetation management plan. Dawson PPD uses this to develop a plan to clear vegetation from our overhead and underground lines and equipment.

Affordability

Dawson PPD is a not-for-profit electric distribution utility, and that means we strive to keep our costs in check to keep our rates affordable. This extends to our approach to vegetation management. If trees grow too close to power lines, the potential for expensive repairs also increases. Effective tree trimming and other vegetation management efforts keep costs down for everyone.

We appreciate the beauty trees afford, but we also know our customers depend on us to provide reliable energy. Through vegetation management, Dawson PPD is better able to keep the power lines clear, prepare for future weather events and secure the reliability of the grid.

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When we talk to Dawson Public Power District customers about this opportunity, something commonly asked is “why?” We usually hear that customers do not care what we do so long as we continue to provide low-cost, reliable power. When they flip the light switch, it better come on. We know this industry well and we care about all of this on your behalf. Our efforts will continue doing what we do best using a different, but diverse, and better business model.

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