Drought conditions create additional challenges for tree trimming
JACKSON, Miss. – As cold weather
pushes into the state for winter, vegetation management crews are hustling to
finish removing limbs and trees at risk of falling on power lines during storms.
Entergy Mississippi, Inc. maintains
nearly 18,000 miles of distribution power lines, and a key component of that
maintenance is managing the vegetation under and near the lines.
Access to work areas can be tough.
Workers, mostly contractors, routinely face obstacles ranging from poison ivy to
insects and snakes to steep slopes and swamps. The vegetation management team
follows a four-to-five year cycle to ensure that all lines are maintained. Work
includes mowing, trimming, applying herbicides and removing trees outside of the
right-of-way that are dead and in danger of falling on power lines. During 2011
Mississippi crews completed trimming nearly 3,650 miles of distribution line.
“Mississippi is geographically
diverse, and every terrain presents challenges, both for preventive maintenance
and for restoration work,” said Robert Clark, vegetation management manager for
Entergy Mississippi, Inc. “But we’ve been doing this a long time, and we know
what it takes to minimize the threat of overgrown vegetation while respecting
the environment, whether in the rugged backwoods of southwest Mississippi or the
swamps of the Mississippi Delta.”
The persistent 2011 heat and drought
conditions in the southern states have created new obstacles in all Entergy
service areas. Vegetation management groups typically spend most of their
efforts maintaining vegetation and trees in the immediate vicinity of power
lines. However, another threat is tall dead trees that are far enough from the
lines to be outside of the right-of-way, but near enough to fall on power lines.
With the drought, these trees, known in the business as “danger trees,” are
plentiful. Workers for Entergy Mississippi removed about 4,500 of these dead
trees in 2011. This year’s drought conditions will continue to affect tree
maintenance requirements for 2012 and beyond.
“It’s sad to see the devastating
effects of the drought up close,” said Clark. “We work hard to find the balance
between preservation, reliability and customer satisfaction.”
The vegetation management effort is
all part of Ennovations, a service reliability initiative that combines decades
of industry experience, new technologies and extensive planning to make the
company’s electrical service even more reliable.
Entergy Mississippi also participates
in tree-planting projects and public education programs to teach people how to
help the environment.
Entergy Mississippi, Inc. provides
electricity to more than 435,000 customers in 45 counties. It is a subsidiary of
Entergy Corporation. Entergy is an integrated energy company engaged primarily
in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns
and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric
generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the
United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in
Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.