Right-of-way” generally refers to the 40-foot-wide strip of land underneath or around power lines that Medina EC maintains and clears. It also refers to areas used to access power lines and equipment.
Trees and brush add beauty to the landscape, but when they are near or in power lines, they are a danger and can cause power outages. Often called a vegetation management program in the utility business, tree pruning and brush clearing is an important part of the service that the cooperative provides to members for three reasons: safety, reliability and cost.
There are outages we can’t prevent—such as those caused by high winds, lightning and curious animals—but we can prevent some of the outages caused by trees and brush. Trees and brush in the right-of-way make it harder for crews to get to locations and can make it take longer to find problems and restore power during outages.
Properly maintained rights-of-way keep crews safe when they are restoring service and keep members safe. If a tree makes contact with power lines, it becomes a potential point of electrical contact for anyone who climbs or touches that tree.
Although we must prune trees, we know that it is not always a popular or attractive solution. Our goals are to be as respectful of trees and the landscape as possible, and to balance beauty with the expectations and needs of members. Because of this, we have a certified arborist on staff to oversee the right-of-way projects.
During 2017, work will be focused in the Natalia area, and Green Glen and Creekwood subdivisions in Medina County. In the southern portion of our service area, work will be seen throughout a large portion of Zapata and Jim Hogg counties and an area of Brooks County. Work will also be done in the Montell and Batesville areas. All members in the affected areas receive automatic calls and emails before work begins, so it is important to ensure that the contact information listed on your account is correct.
Members can help maintain clear areas around power lines by being mindful when they plant trees. Consider how large the vegetation will grow when it is mature. Also, report limbs in trees to your cooperative so we can send crews out to assess whether it needs to be trimmed immediately.