Right of Way &
Tree Replacement Program
Each year Macon Electric Cooperative allocates a generous portion of our annual budget to brush and tree control through our right-of-way maintenance program. This program is a critical key to ensuring reliable electric service for our members. It is our goal to clear and maintain a 30 foot wide utility corridor on all of Macon Electric’s nearly 3,000 miles of electric distribution line.
Why It Is Important to Maintain a Clear Right-Of-Way
In an effort to continually provide safe and reliable electricity to its members, Macon Electric Cooperative strives to keep electric lines clear of trees, brush, and foliage by maintaining an aggressive right-of-way program.
Our crews use several methods to keep trees and brush under control, including simple trimming, bulldozing, and, in some cases, spraying non-toxic herbicide. It is important to keep our power lines clear for several reasons, including:
- When a tree comes in contact with a power line it is very possible for a child or an adult touching or climbing that tree to receive a fatal shock injury.
- Blinking lights or outages can be frequent in easements where taller growing trees have not been cleared or trimmed.
- Taller growing trees increase the amount of time it takes to correct an outage by preventing equipment access and reducing visibility in the right-of-way. If our maintenance crews can’t see down the right-of-way they must hunt among the branches to locate the problem, which is extremely time consuming.
- Planting taller growing trees too close to power lines increases Macon Electric’s maintenance costs. These higher costs can eventually be reflected in your electric rates.
Important Information on Planting the Right Trees in the Right Places
Planting the right tree in the right place can add beauty to a home and its surroundings, provide practical functions, and prevent costly maintenance, trimming, and damage to your home. Because different trees have different mature heights, special attention must be paid to where you plant each tree. It is also important to note that a trees’ placement relative to your home, as their roots may disrupt the foundation in the future. Low growing trees will not reach electric lines and, therefore, will not create power outages and other complications for you or Macon Electric. (Note: Please refer to the list and diagram shown below outlining the appropriate trees to plant near power lines.)
There are many ways in which you may use landscaping, not only to create an area of beauty and enjoyment, but also as a means of energy conservation. For instance, evergreens (trees that keep their leaves all year) can serve as a windbreak and should be planted on the west or north side of your home at a distance approximately 50 feet or more from the house. Another factor is temperature control. For example, deciduous trees (trees that drop their leaves in the fall) should be planted on the south and/or west side of your house to offer cooling shade in the summer and to allow warm sunlight through in the winter.
The practical placement of trees and shrubs, the effective use of attic and wall insulation, and the proper use of caulking and weather-stripping all work together to reduce heat gains in the summer and heat loss in the winter. These actions will make your family more comfortable and reduce your overall energy costs considerably.
How MEC Will Help Replace Your Tree(s)
When a member allows the Cooperative to eliminate a yard tree that is interfering with power lines, Macon Electric will reimburse the member up to $100 for the purchase of a new tree, with a maximum of $500 per location. (Example: If we remove five trees there will be a maximum of $500; If we would remove a wind break such as popular trees or pine trees and we remove six or more trees, you will be entitled $500.)
The Cooperative member can choose from 12 species of trees to be planted in a safe and efficient location. Replacement trees can be purchased wherever the member chooses.
In addition to removing the tree, Macon Electric Cooperative will grind the stump with the Cooperative’s equipment. We will leave the chipped material from grinding the stump for the member’s use. Any repair to minor yard damage or refill of dirt necessary will be the member’s responsibility.