OPALCO tree trimming crews are at work throughout San Juan County clearing vegetation from around power lines for safety and to prevent outages this coming winter. This work is part of OPALCO’s routine annual line clearance program – also called right of way clearing.
Trees and vegetation in the ROW, in proximity to high-voltage power lines, need to be pruned by expert, highly-insured professional utility tree crews. The long-term approach is to remove most trees growing in the ROW, identify and remove hazardous trees outside of the ROW that could fall into lines – and keep 15 feet to each side of the power line centers clear of vegetation that could impede access for maintenance and repairs. This approach makes the best use of member resources by minimizing the number of times each area needs attention and preventing unnecessary tree-related outages.
Property owners can help themselves and OPALCO by planting trees and vegetation a safe distance away from power lines and equipment; avoiding known problem trees such as willow, pine and alder in favor of sturdier species such as western red cedar; and by cooperating with OPALCO and their tree trimming crews when line clearance work is necessary.
Despite solid prevention and a very reliable system, power outages happen. OPALCO encourages all islanders to be prepared. Check out the Winter Storm Check List on OPALCO’s outage center (www.opalco.com/outages) – and explore the options for outage information and updates.
OPALCO posts outage information on its phone system, Facebook, Twitter and online at www.opalco.com/outages. Members can sign up for direct outage updates by phone, text or email on SmartHub. OPALCO’s 24/7 off-site call center manages the high-volume of member calls during an outage and populates the new real-time outage map to keep members informed. Members with mobile phones can check the map, Facebook and Twitter for outage information. Those who do not use mobile phones can call into OPALCO’s phone system for less-detailed updates – or find an “outage buddy” with a mobile phone to relay information. Questions can be addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.