For many years Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative has dedicated time, energy and much effort toward the control of unwanted trees, brush and undergrowth in the surrounding area (right-of-way) of power lines as a way of reducing the number and extent of unnecessary and quite costly power outages. Customarily, the bulk of this investment has been through the use of mechanical practices (cutting, trimming, mowing). In recent years, the Co-op has advanced toward a system-wide integrated vegetation management program that includes various mechanical methods as well as the utilization of low volume herbicide applications. In order to effectively carry out these procedures, the Vegetation Management Department currently utilizes eight locally-owned independent contractor crews and eight in-house personnel, including a fully equipped crew, two planners, two auditors and an education coordinator.
Keeping safety and service reliability in mind for our members and our employees, the Vegetation Management Department is always seeking to improve its’ right-of-way program through developing the most economical approach of controlling unwanted vegetation while being environmentally friendly at the same time. Our system-wide, integrated program overview includes, but is not limited to:
- Mechanical Methods
- Herbicide Applications
- Safe Work Practices (PPE, ANSI Standards, OSHA)
- Contractors Profile
- In-House Crew Responsibilities
- Auditors Responsibilities
- Planners Responsibilities
- Training/Education Opportunities (Pesticides, Electrical Hazards Awareness Program, Certified Arborist, ISA, Urban and Community Forestry, Statewide Right-of-Way School, Contractors’ Day)
- Community Involvement (Local schools, Rotary Clubs, Garden Clubs, Arbor Day, Earth Day, Great American Clean-Up, Math/Science Day, Oconee Kids Environmental Education, Health-Safety-Environmental Awareness)
- Partnerships (Clemson Extension, SC Department natural Resources, Oconee County Soil & Water Conservation, Natural Resource Conservation Society, Oconee County Department of Transportation, US Engine Valve)
- Environmental Participation (SC Native Plant Society, Keep Oconee Beautiful Association, USR Quail Unlimited, Wildlife And Industry Together)
One of the most beneficial ways to assist Blue Ridge in providing safe and reliable electric service is to be cooperative with our right-of-way maintenance efforts. We appreciate and respect those members who have allowed us access across their property over the years and take pride in our responsibility to your home and the environment around you.
If you would like to learn more about the cooperative’s right-of-way programs, we encourage you to contact our Vegetation Management Department at 1-800-240-3400.