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Call SSEMC Before You Plant

Maintaining right-of-way keeps service reliable, safe.

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There are many ways that Snapping Shoals EMC provides you with safe, reliable electric service. One of the most common and crucial ways is referred to as right-of-way clearing (or vegetation management).

A right-of-way (ROW) refers to a strip of land underneath or around power lines that your electric cooperative has the legal responsibility to maintain and clear. Trees must grow at a distance far enough from conductors where they will not cause harm to individuals or disruption to electrical service. Specification can vary, but at SSEMC we maintain a minimum of 15 feet on either side with a maximum of 25 feet ground to sky. We also seek to maintain zero woody growth beneath the lines.

Clearing the ROW is critical to keeping our members' lights on. An average of 15 percent of power interruptions occur when trees, shrubs, or bushes contact power lines.

If a tree encroaches on this safe distance, our vegetation management team will trim back branches and brush using chain saws, bucket trucks, tree climbers, brush chippers and mowers. Herbicides can also be used as a way to support the growth of low growing plant species that will outcompete the tall trees growing beneath power lines.

ROW clearing is also critical to ensuring that we provide members with affordable electricity. Vegetation and structures of any type in the ROW can prolong outage restoration times and impede routine work on the lines. Staying ahead of the game keeps us from having to come out after a storm to restore power due to fallen trees.

For your safety and for more reliable service, always contact us first at 770-786-3484 before planting, trimming or removing any trees near power lines. Under the High Voltage Safety Act, if you are performing any activity within the vicinity of an overhead high-voltage line, you are required to give notice to the Utilities Protection Center at least 72 hours in advance. The center may be reached at 1-800-282-7411. Our best opportunity to maintain safe and functional lines is with the cooperation of our members.

Pad-mounted transformers are designed to be cooled by the circulation of air around the unit. Clearance for the front of pad-mounted transformers is 10 feet of right-of-way and 6 feet of clearance on all other sides. (See illustration below.) When bushes, plants, piled dirt or other obstructions are too close to pad-mounted transformers, they will not cool as necessary, which can lead to outages. In addition, our employees are not able to quickly access and operate the equipment during outages and routine inspections. Safety hazards include wasp nests, fire ant hills, snakes and other pests that are often hidden in bushes and shrubs.