Distribution lines carry electricity throughout a town or community to the homes and businesses that we serve. They can be located underground or overhead on utility poles. Overhead distribution lines are the lines that most commonly experience outages caused by trees or other vegetation.
Duke Energy Progress maintains more than 40,000 miles of overhead power lines. Trees and other vegetation can pose a potential reliability and safety hazard to these lines if they are not managed proactively. Duke Energy Progress' distribution line rights of way are typically 30 feet wide, meaning that crews can trim up to 15 feet on either side of the right of way centerline.
Trees and vegetation along distribution lines can often be trimmed rather than removed. If, however, the vegetation poses a threat to the line that cannot be resolved by trimming, or if the vegetation may interfere with the line before we return on our next routine maintenance cycle, it may be subject to removal.
Crews use a combination of vegetation management methods to help ensure system reliability. We use an industry-approved technique called directional pruning to maintain tree health while establishing acceptable clearance between energized wires and tree branches. In certain circumstances, Duke Energy Progress may need to contact the customer to discuss the removal of trees to eliminate reliability issues due to re-growth during the vegetation maintenance cycle period.
Duke Energy Progress works proactively with customers, homeowner associations and community leaders to keep them informed of vegetation and right-of-way management activities in their area.
In residential, commercial and maintained areas, customers are typically notified with a minimum of two days notice, prior to vegetation maintenance work commencing. Notification includes identifying the trees to be cut. Notification methods vary depending on the type and voltage of the line. Notification is typically made by door hanger, but may also include a telephone call, letter, in-person contact or a combination of these methods. A point of contact will also be provided should you have questions or concerns about the work being done. If our attempts to notify you are unsuccessful, work will proceed without further direct notification.
Although a minimum of two days notice is typical, there are exceptions: a tree may be cut sooner with customer acknowledgement or if it is a danger tree. The easements obtained by Duke Energy Progress grant us the right to clear any tree that poses a threat to the safety of the public and the reliable operation of the line. Danger trees include those that are dead, diseased or damaged, and/or pose a threat to the safe and reliable operation of the line. Danger trees can be located inside or outside the Duke Energy Progress right of way.
Distribution lines are typically maintained on a three- to six-year cycle, depending on the voltage and type of line.