Rocky Mountain Power To Begin Vernal Vegetation Maintenance Work
March 16, 2017
VERNAL, Utah — Trees are a beloved part of the local landscape. They do a great deal for the environment and quality of life. But if trees are not properly maintained, they have the potential to cause severe damage to power lines and interrupt electric service to area customers, particularly in storms or heavy winds. Rocky Mountain Power has a regular vegetation maintenance program to help ensure the safe, reliable delivery of electricity to customers.
“During April, May and June, residents of Vernal can expect to see crews pruning trees near power lines in local neighborhoods,” said Brandon Anderson, Rocky Mountain Power operations manager. “Prior to that, in March, crews will be making assessments and contacting property owners in person or with a door tag describing the pruning that needs to be done.”
Anderson explained Rocky Mountain Power conducts this regular vegetation maintenance work on the electrical system on a three-year schedule.
Mowbray Tree Service is the contractor performing the tree pruning work that will take place west of Vernal Avenue between 500 North and 4800 South. Much of the work to be done in the area will include lines in residential backyards or the business area.
“The focus of this work will be those trees creating potential hazards and the fast-growing trees that have already grown into the lines since the last regular maintenance cycle that was conducted during 2014,” Anderson said.
The crews prune trees on both public and private property as a preventative effort. Once the inspections have identified problem areas, crews prune the trees to secure a 10-foot to 14-foot “circle of safety” around power lines. In some cases, crews may need to remove trees that pose a serious threat to safety and electric service.
Customers frequently ask about the irregular shapes of trees that have been pruned and what constitutes the need for tree removal. Rocky Mountain Power employs professional vegetation management crews managed by foresters or contract supervisors who are certified arborists. They make decisions based not only on proximity to power lines, but also on tree species, size and growth rate. After proper tree pruning, tree shapes are often atypical.
Arborists agree that methods known as topping or round-over pruning are not acceptable because of the extensive damage caused to trees. Trees pruned in this manner often grow back into power lines, become diseased and die after several seasons of such treatment.
“Proper pruning is important to ensure safe delivery of electricity to customers,” Anderson said. “This regular maintenance program is very effective keeping electric service reliable for thousands of Vernal customers as well as protecting the health of local trees near power lines.”
For additional information about Rocky Mountain Power’s vegetation management program, visit rockymountainpower.net/trees.