Progress Energy Performs Significant Tree Trimming
Substantial tree work and vegetation management around power lines in Southern Pines began recently in a joint effort by Progress Energy Carolinas, its contract crews and local officials.
Progress Energy Carolinas has obtained easements and agreements with local communities and property owners that allow it to build and maintain its power lines. This right includes managing vegetation, including trees that pose a threat to the reliability of the electric system, according to a news release.
Crews are working to ensure reliable electric service for residents while striving to maintain the beauty of the local neighborhoods, the release said.
Trees growing near power lines can cause fires and be an electrical hazard to the public, Progress Energy Carolinas said. During storms, trees and tree limbs can fall into power lines and cause power outages.
"We are committed to providing our customers with safe, reliable electric service," said David McNeill, Progress Energy Carolinas district manager, based in Aberdeen (no relation to the mayor of Southern Pines). "Trees are part of the natural beauty of the communities we serve, and yet trees and other vegetation are also among the leading causes of power outages. We must constantly work to balance maintaining the natural beauty with our responsibility to provide a reliable electric system for all of our customers."
The electric utility has worked proactively with customers and with community leaders to keep them informed of vegetation and right of way management activities in their area.
"The town of Southern Pines and the town's Appearance Commission have been working closely with Progress Energy and NCDOT," said Pete Morris, town arborist and building and grounds superintendent for the town of Southern Pines. "Collectively, we are working to prune trees in the best way possible and ensure that the right trees are in the right place, even if that means removing some trees to allow the remaining trees and foliage to mature and show their beauty.
"We recognize that we each have different roles, but we share the same goal of maintaining the beauty of our neighborhoods while performing maintenance needed to help provide uninterrupted power, unobstructed roads and clear sight lines."
Town Manager Reagan Parsons added, "Southern Pines appreciates the willingness of Progress Energy to work with local officials toward an improved long-term strategy of maintenance that should result in both aesthetic improvements over their historic methodologies and long-term economic efficiencies for both the company and its consumers.
"Utilities that hold long standing franchises are not always as open to suggestions and discussion of their maintenance activities, and while any removals may cause some immediate concern, an improved power supply during the next high wind or ice event will be appreciated by all. Further-more, the process of maintenance five to seven years in the future should not create as significant a visual impact. "
Progress Energy Carolinas maintains more than 40,000 miles of overhead power lines. While it is not possible to completely eliminate tree interference along all of its overhead power lines, the utility expects the number of vegetation-caused outages to be reduced as a result of its work, the release said.
In addition to the work already completed, crews are expected to be in the general vicinity of Weymouth in neighborhoods between Indiana and Connecticut avenues along with a small area in West Southern Pines around North Mechanic.
"We appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers," McNeill said, "as we work to enhance customer reliability in Southern Pines and throughout our service area."
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