Vegetation Management Objectives
Coast Electric's mission statement sets several high standards.
We exist to provide our member-owners superior service and dependable electricity at the lowest possible price, and to improve the economy and quality of life in our community.
A successful Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) is an essential element needed for Coast Electric to accomplish our mission. Three important objectives of our VMP are safety, reliability and cost.
All electric utilities have an obligation to provide safe clearances between trees and energized conductors. As a result, right-of-way (ROW) maintenance must be scheduled frequently enough to ensure minimal contact between vegetation and electric facilities throughout the entire length of the planned cycle. Coast Electric's ROW maintenance schedule is currently every three to four years. The amount pruned and/or cut during ROW maintenance cycles is based on the characteristics of the tree species, and the type and location of conductors. In some cases, a tree or trees may have to be removed to provide access to Coast Electric's equipment and safe clearances between vegetation and conductors. Tree removal may also be necessary to protect the public and provide a safe working environment for Coast Electric employees. Training is provided to help ROW personnel to identify trees in need of removal.
We understand the importance of offering dependable electric service to our member-owners. Like most electric providers, a large number of Coast Electric's power interruptions are related to trees and/or vegetation. In 2007, the leading cause of Coast Electric's reported outages were vegetation and/or tree related. However, since 2007, the number of vegetation related outages occurring within the widths of Coast Electric's rights-of-way have dropped by over 60 percent. Furthermore, the number of outages caused by hazard trees located outside the widths of our rights-of-way has dropped by more than 95 percent since 2007.
Currently, healthy trees and/or tree limbs that fall during inclement weather contribute to a large percentage of our tree related outages. While much progress has been made, Coast Electric continues to seek cost-effective ways to reduce the amount of outages caused by vegetation and/or trees.
An effective VMP is more than just a commitment to reduce the number of reported outages. When outages occur, for whatever reason, clear rights-of-way allow restoration crews to locate and repair problems faster. Restoration times are greatly reduced when problems are quickly identified and repaired. Reduced power interruptions and faster restoration times are better for our members.
Along with promoting safety and reliability, Coast Electric’s VMP allows your cooperative to operate more efficiently. While a VMP can be costly, power outages and restorations can also be expensive. In addition, damages to Coast Electric facilities can occur when vegetation comes into contact with energized conductors. Consequently, power outages, restoration efforts, repairing damaged equipment and line loss negatively impact our annual operating expenses. Coast Electric's VMP helps us provide safe and reliable electric service at the lowest possible price.
Since 2010, right-of-way maintenance costs have dropped by 10 percent, mostly due to tree removals and selective herbicide applications. The ability for Coast Electric to reduce overall costs without affecting system reliability is a tribute to an integrated VMP.