Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) recognizes the valuable asset trees can be in our landscapes. Trees can protect from wind, offer shade in the summer, provide visual buffers and supply habitat for various wildlife. However, when trees are planted and grow within or near electric right-of-ways, not only are these benefits significantly reduced or eliminated, but hazards to safe and reliable electric service are created. Trees are the number one cause of power outages on SEC’s distribution system. When trees contact live wires, they can create power outages and fires and are a danger to anyone who may contact the trees.
To provide safe and reliable electricity to all members, SEC has a Vegetation Management Program that works to:
Keep the proper line to vegetation clearances.
Reduce the amount of incompatible vegetation beneath the lines.
Work with members to remove trees on their properties that require frequent trimming, pose a risk of becoming in contact with lines, or reduce accessibility to equipment.
SEC requests that members never plant any trees directly under or near overhead power lines. Doing so will require future trimming and possible removal of the tree; reducing or eliminating any benefits sought by planting the tree. We encourage members to enhance their properties with trees and vegetation outside the established right-of-way.
Although SEC would prefer that no trees be planted within our rights-of-way with overhead lines or within ten feet of our underground transformers, you can help by using these guidelines when planting trees near overhead lines. Before you plant, call VA811 at least three days in advance (not counting weekends and holidays) to have your underground utilities marked. They can be reached by simply dialing 8-1-1.