Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

May 21, 2014

Tree trimming: APCO work a necessity

— — We are glad to see that crews with Appalachian Power are now doubling their tree trimming efforts across the region. This preventive work is necessary to help reduce not only the number of power outages, but also the duration of such outages.

Unfortunately, power outages can be a common occurrence here in the mountains — both during the winter and summer months. It is normally a combination of trees, heavy snow and strong winds that bring power lines down. And when a tree falls on a power line, many in a given area can be impacted. That’s why the new cycle trimming process that company crews are now utilizing is of particular importance.

The West Virginia Public Service Commission has already approved the plan for the new cycle trimming process, and it is now being utilized right here in the region.

“The traditional method we have been using in the past was to look at the areas with the most problems and prioritize the worst areas first before moving on to other areas,” according to Jeri Matheney, a communications director for Appalachian Power. “Now with the cycle trimming each power line will get attention every four years trimming one end to the other. This creates a more thorough trimming approach. A small pilot study in a Southwest Virginia service area was conducted and brought outages down by 48 percent.”

As a result of the new technology, Matheney says area residents should see an increase in tree trimming work across the region this summer. And that’s important as now is the time to complete this work, before snow cold and weather arrives again next winter. And as recent history has proven, the warm summer months can also be a perilous time when it comes to power outages. The surprise derecho storm during the summer of 2011 left thousands across our region without electricity for almost a week.

Matheney says the company cannot prevent storms — and can’t prevent all outages that may occur — but can work to reduce the number and duration of such outages. And when an outage occurs, and trees adjoining lines have been properly trimmed and are off the line, it makes it much easy for APCO crews to restore electrical service in a timely manner.

That’s why the company should proceed with the ongoing tree trimming work in a timely fashion.

Taking steps today to prevent power outages tomorrow is a prudent and necessary move by Appalachian Power.

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