ASHLAND, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky Power’s aggressive efforts to improve tree trimming has reduced outages by trees inside the right of way by 70 percent over seven years.
In 2010, customers experienced 2,250 outages when trees within the right of way contacted overhead powerlines. That number dropped to 660 in 2017. The dramatic improvements are the result of steps Kentucky Power took with approval from the Kentucky Public Service Commission to increase spending on vegetation management. Since 2010, Kentucky Power has cleared 9,853 miles of overhead lines in eastern Kentucky. That distance is equal to nearly four coast-to-coast trips across the United States.
“Kentucky Power has made significant progress in removing vegetation from within the rights-of-way to improve reliability for our customers,” said Greg Bell, Kentucky Power’s region support manager. “There are more opportunities in front of us with our five-year trimming cycle.”
Kentucky Power recently completed the first phase of its efforts to trim every mile of its lines. Trimming every mile of line at least once during the first phase was necessary before moving to a five-year trimming cycle.
Kentucky Power has made such good progress on its trimming plan that the Kentucky Public Service Commission earlier this year approved a proposal to scale back vegetation management spending to save customers money. The plan reduces annual spending from $27 million in 2017 to about $21.5 million in 2018. The first five-year cycle will begin in January 2019.
“We are proud of this achievement,” Bell said. “But we are far from done. We remain focused on widening opportunities, dead tree abatement and removal of overhanging branches.”
Before 2010, Kentucky Power cleared vegetation, including trees, brush and other growth based on performance. Lines that showed poor reliability and frequent outages were scheduled for clearing. The five-year trimming cycle is proactive rather than reactive, Bell said.