Pleasant Valley Lake, February 25, 2019
Trees are the #1 cause of power blinks, and in worse conditions, outages. Nationally, trees, shrubs, brush, and other vegetation coming into contact with power lines and distribution equipment are responsible for 15 percent of power interruptions. In Sussex Rural Electric's service territory, this number is 70 percent!
Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative has a responsibility to maintain reliable power quality and member safety by preventing interference with our lines. Because of the risks that trees pose, not just causing service interruptions but also potential electric and fire hazards, Sussex Rural Electric employs an aggressive tree-trimming program aimed at keeping our lines clear and power flowing.
Our employees patrol our lines to ensure our right-of-way is maintained by making note of foilage growing under power lines, overhanging branches, vines, and "hazard" trees that could grow into lines over time or even pull them down if they were to fall over. We hope to avoid any future problems by thinking ahead, considering how branches may grow over the years and how seasonal change will affect residential trees.
Our employees make use of cutting-edge technology to aid in identifying areas of our service territory that require tree trimming service. Using a group of specialized, SREC-developed apps, employees can easily view a map of our service territory, see miles of line that have already been managed by tree trimming crews and those still in need of work, and report new findings for areas where trees do not meet regulations.
We employ the services of Asplundh Tree Experts, LLC. as our tree trimming contractor. Asplundh operates in over area on a 4-year timespan, moving through predetermined areas of our service territory on an ongoing basis, cycling through different communities until they are ready to start again. A map of this tree trimming cycle can be found at the bottom of this page.
Sussex Rural Electric and Asplundh do everything possible to work with members while trimming their trees. Due to right-of-way agreements, we have the right to trim tree limbs to safe standards to ensure a consistent flow of electrical power to our members. However, Asplundh makes sure members are notified that a tree on their premises is in need of trimming by hanging a door hanger (pictured here) on their home 1-4 weeks before tree trimming is scheduled to begin, outside of emergency or storm situations.
We try to maintain our members' trees whenever possible and trim only what is necessary. If a tree is marked as a "hazard tree" to be cut, we cut only the portion of the tree that will cause damage to our facilities. If Asplundh is cutting a tree on your property, feel free to ask them to leave you the wood or wood chips from your tree.
What can you do to help?
- Follow our tree planting guidelines - If you plan on planting a tree on your property, please follow our Tree Planting Guide (pictured below) to prevent future interference with our power lines. Trees planted in the "No Tree Zone" will most likely need to be trimmed by our contractors in the future. When planting, remember to consider how tall your tree might grow and how wide its branches may spread.
- Be understanding of our rights-of-way - While it may not always be convenient to have trees on your property trimmed by our contractors, please be understanding of the fact that Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative has a responsibility to ensure safe and reliable electricity to our members by keeping our power lines free from interference. One tree can end up affecting the power quality for hundreds of your neighbors by causing power blinks or outages.
- Let us know about problem branches - If you notice any trees or branches that might pose a risk to our power lines, please let us know! Branches touching the bottom wires, which are communications lines, will usually not cause problems. Issues arise when branches, vines, or other vegetation start touching, approaching, or hanging over the higher conductors. Co-op employees can take care of identifying these branches that may or may not become future problems, but if you see a situation where a tree poses an obvious, more immediate threat to our power lines, do not hesitate. To report any potentially hazardous branches or trees, please call us at 973-875-5101.