(April 12, 2021) — Vegetation is responsible for approximately 25 percent of Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative power outages, and the number goes up with storms. To keep the lights on and the public safe, MLEC utilizes a balanced vegetation program and shares its 2021 plan.
Tree trimming is currently underway in two counties for power reliability and fiber construction. Perry County work began in January and is expected to finish in June. Work in Hickman County will begin soon and will last late into 2021. (To see if you could be impacted, view the information map at mlec.com.)
Spraying is scheduled to begin in late May for Hickman, Humphreys and Perry counties. MLEC offers a spray opt-out policy for special situations where the property owner takes a more personal investment and agrees to manage the right-of-way according to the required distance. Those interested need to contact MLEC by May 14, 2021 so that arrangements can be made before spraying starts.
“We understand this is a sensitive area, and our members count on us to balance the beauty and environmental benefit of trees with keeping electric prices affordable, the public safe, and the lights on,” says MLEC President and CEO Keith Carnahan.
MLEC’s program uses a variety of approved, environmentally sound methods to keep vegetation a safe distance from power lines. This includes trimming, spraying and removal, if needed, to maintain a clearance of 20 feet on each side of the power line from an individual home or business all the way to the substation. Trimming practices are in accordance with the International Society of Arboriculture and the National Arbor Day Foundation recommended guidelines and standards for good tree health.
Likewise, sprays utilized by MLEC contractors are registered with the EPA and administered by licensed applicators. Contractors survey the areas to be treated and prescribe an appropriate mix that will promote a subtle transition of the right of way into native grasses and flowering plants. These herbicide application services are vital to affordable accessibility, while also promoting environmental stewardship, habitats, and multi-use of the right of way.
MLEC is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric utility serving more than 35,000 meters in Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Lewis and Perry counties. Learn more about MLEC and MLConnect broadband internet at www.mlec.com.