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Right-of-Way (ROW) Maintenance is Very Important

When you turn on the lights in your home, do you think about the work that went into building the lines that bring electricity to you? Do you think about the people who make repairs to those lines when there is a problem?

For most of us, the answer is no. When we flick the switch, we just expect the lights and every thing else that requires electricity to come on. It’s only when it stops working that we think about electricity. But delivering reliable electric service to our members’ homes and businesses requires thousands of miles of power lines across multiple counties, as well as the vigilance to maintain them. That might mean working through the night after a major storm to raise downed lines, but it also means planning ahead to prevent outages whenever possible.

In fact, while major storms and large-scale outages get more attention, most of our outages are caused by something as simple as a tree limb or other debris falling on lines and disrupting service. These everyday occurrences can cause outages that are an inconvenience for you and could end up being a costly repair for the cooperative.

That’s why CEC invests time and resources into our preventive maintenance – that includes herbicide spraying and tree and brush trimming. In the electric industry, we refer to this clearing as right-of-way maintenance, and it is crucial to keeping your electric service as dependable as humanly possible.

As a rule of thumb, CEC’s right-of-way contract crews clear growth 15 feet from each side of a power line. For a single-phase pole, this amounts to 30 feet. For a three-phase pole carrying three lines, this amounts to 38 feet to account for the upper section’s extra width.

Our right-of-way contract crews work hard to keep the lines clear in that space, but we also need our members’ help and cooperation to be most effective. When you are planting new plants on your property, take note of any nearby electric equipment and be aware of the areas the cooperative needs to keep clear.

If you aren’t sure how large a certain plant will grow or how far it should be from power lines, here are a few “safe zones” to keep in mind:

Maintenance zone – No vines, shrubs or trees should be planted within 10 feet of the furthest point on a utility pole.

Low zone – Redbuds and dogwoods should be kept at least 10-20 feet from the maintenance zone.


May 2024 – June 2024  (CEC has EDKO spraying crews working in the areas of Brantley, Basin and Dozier. Information regarding these efforts have been promoted on social media and other communication outlets).