Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative owns, operates, constructs, monitors and maintains electric distribution facilities in portions of a 12-county service area in central Wisconsin. ACEC is required to conduct regular maintenance on its distribution lines in order to remove tall, fast growing trees and heavy brush. Trees and brush at the edge of the right-of-way may remain, but ACEC prunes them so that they grow away from the electric lines.
ACEC’s Right of Way Management Program controls trees, shrubs and brush growing around our facilities and equipment. Trees interfering with power lines can eventually cause outages and fires, slow maintenance and repairs, endanger lives and property, and even waste energy. ACEC is governed by many State and Federal regulations and regulatory bodies such as the National Electric Safety Code (NESC), and the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR). In addition, our Right of Way Maintenance practices are guided by our liability insurance carrier as well as industry standards.
It’s the goal of Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative to maintain its right of ways for safety, cost efficiencies, and reliability while being respectful of the members and responsible for the environment on which ACEC’s right of ways lie. ACEC strives to have right of ways that are accessible by equipment and personnel. ACEC has established a right-of-way line maintenance cycles of five years. However these cycles may be more or less frequent on a circuit-by-circuit basis depending on several factors including but not limited to potential fire risk, past experience, unanticipated circumstances such as a wind storm, and availability of resources.
ACEC will complete routine maintenance approximately every 5 years based on substation feeders. Trees located beneath or within 10 feet of a high voltage power line, or 2 feet of a secondary power line (to a meter or yard light) will likely be removed or trimmed. Trees outside of the 10 foot right-of-way may be removed if: dead, dying, split, dangerously hanging over or leaning toward the wires, fast-growing, a weak-wooded variety or if by trimming insufficient live limbs remain to support growth of the tree.
Crews will chip and haul away brush in maintained areas and mow the brush in all other areas. When appropriate, brush will be piled along the right-of-way for wildlife habitat. Logs larger than four inches in diameter are usually cut into eight-foot lengths and are left on the property.
ACEC will complete routine maintenance approximately every 5 years based on substation feeders. Hazard trees within the right of way as well as outside that can threaten the line will be targeted for removal. Hazard trees are trees defined as having one or more of the following characteristics: dead or dying, leaning heavily toward the line or equipment, contain cankers and canker-rots, and/or contain animal and/or mechanical damage such as decay or rot.
ACEC has chosen to use herbicide management as a safe and effective method to reduce future trimming costs and maintain system reliability for our members. The cycle work will follow the areas covered by the Right of Way Maintenance cycle the previous year. Licensed, selective herbicides are used by trained and qualified applicators. The types of herbicides used are: ELEMENT3A manufactured by Dow Agro-Sciences, ESCORT XP manufactured by DuPont, and FUSION manufactured by Cell Signaling Technology.
Our line clearing contractor will carefully and accurately apply herbicides to those areas in the overhead power line right-of-way where trees and underbrush are beginning to reappear.
ACEC may offer options to individual members or groups of adjacent members that object to clearing according to ACEC standards. In providing these options, ACEC seeks to enable individual members to choose methods for right-of-way clearance that best address their concerns while preventing the burden of costs for use of non-standard procedures from being placed upon other ACEC members. Any quotes to relocate or bury the line may include the contractor estimated cost to clear said section of line as a credit. Because of varying site conditions, not all options will be offered in all locations.
Options that may be available for a particular site include relocation of lines. Where consistent with ACEC standards for line maintenance/improvement, rerouting of lines or moving lines underground at the requesting member’s expense will be considered. Rerouting must follow ACEC guidelines, and accessibility to the lines must be at least as good as the original location. In locations where groups of members must agree to rerouting, it is the responsibility of interested members to negotiate agreement with adjacent members and obtain necessary easements before rerouting can proceed. If such agreement cannot be obtained within a time frame specified by ACEC, right-of-way clearing will proceed unless other options are negotiated individually with ACEC.
For member requests to have a tree removed and/or trimmed the member must mark the tree(s) to be cut and provide a daytime contact number. An ACEC representative will visit the site and decide on an appropriate action. If the ACEC representative is unable to contact member as to what work will or will not be done, a door hanger will be left with that information.
Requests impacting primary conductors
If tree is within ROW guidelines of pole/wire and or leaning significantly towards the line, ACEC may schedule it in the current year tree cycle. If it is determined the tree(s) is (are) an imminent hazard to the line, then it should be removed with 45 days. If the tree is outside of ACEC’s right-of-way guidelines and not a hazard tree, ACEC will not remove. If the member wants the line dropped, ACEC will require ten business days’ notice and may charge time and material cost to drop the line (single phase only), but not cut the tree. A Line Clearance Release (ACEC form #361) should be signed by the member for any agreed upon tree work and clean up.
Requests impacting secondary conductors
If tree(s) are within 2 feet of the secondary conductor, poles or leaning significantly towards the line, ACEC may schedule trimming in the current year tree cycle. If it is determined the tree(s) is (are) an imminent hazard to the line, then it should be removed with 45 days. If the tree is outside of the secondary conductor guidelines and not a hazard tree, ACEC will not remove. If the member wants the line dropped, ACEC will require three business days’ notice and may charge time and material cost to drop the line, but will not cut the tree. A Line Clearance Release (ACEC form #361) shall be signed by the member for any agreed upon tree work and clean up.
In the event that ACEC is not going to cut the trees, ACEC will not recommend any business entity to cut trees. The member will be advised to check advertising resources, ask for references and proof of insurance or bonding. If the member asks our Contractors to perform the work, such work should not be done during ACEC normal business hours, and ACEC will not accept any responsibility for such work.
Oak wilt is caused by a fungus that enters an oak through either a root graft or a fresh wound. The fungus invades water-conducting vessels and produces balloon-like projections called tyloses that can plug the vessels. The lack of water flow causes leaves to wilt rapidly and fall from the tree.
Oak trees are most susceptible to overland spread in the spring time, from bud swelling until two to three weeks past full leaf development(April 15 to July 1). If an oak is wounded during this time, ACEC will cover the wound with tree wound paint. Tree wound paint can actually slow the natural wound closure process and ACEC limits the use of wound paint to the situation described above.
Annosum Root Rot
Over 200 woody species have been reported as hosts, but most commonly observed on red and white pine in Wisconsin. It may appear the same as pocket gaps in a plantation, but not to be confused with beetles. You will notice fungal decay below the needle bed or duff layer (looks like a mushroom or commonly known as a conk) and it can move from tree to tree thru the intertwined root system. Prevention is the best approach by spreading a thin layer of Sporax (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) on freshly cut stumps as soon as possible after cutting, or no later than the end of each cutting day. Basidiospores are most often produced when the temperature is between 41 and 90 degrees F. ACEC follows the practice of treating all red, white, and jack pine stumps within these temperature ranges.