Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES) is working to increase reliability for its customers by making improvements to its Vegetation Management Program.
“Recent growing seasons caused many areas to grow beyond what customers are able to maintain safely and effectively,” explained Mike Browder, CEO of BTES. “Where we used to be able to use simple trimming methods, we must now take down or trim anything near the power lines to enable our customers to resume maintaining their vegetation.”
To help mitigate future expenses, BTES is placing an emphasis on taking trees down instead of periodic maintenance and recurring trimming.
Browder continued, “BTES’ goal is 60 minutes or less of outage time per customer per year and we were better than our goal for many years. Over the past few years, our outage numbers have continued to increase and, as of October 2022, electric outage time has already surpassed 90+ minutes due mostly to trees and other vegetation. We recognize how the growing seasons have impacted reliability and are taking aggressive action.”
Significant vegetation management work will start in areas that have been more prone to outages.
“This will involve taking down trees and trimming others,” said Browder. “Our customers can help by watching for road signs, trucks, and other equipment and safely maneuvering around them.”
Trees will be trimmed or taken down to achieve the industry standard necessary clearance of at least 10 feet of clearance (ground-to-sky) on each side of the line. Depending on the type of power line and location, some trees may need to be taken down to achieve more clearance. After crews complete their job, BTES’ customers will be able to resume maintaining their vegetation.
“To help keep the power on for you and your neighbors, we ask our customers not to plant trees under or near the power lines, and to keep the areas under and near the power lines clear of excessive vegetation growth such as trees, large bushes, and vines,” said Browder.
More information about BTES’ Vegetation Management Program and what customers can expect can be found at www.btes.net/trees.