Transmission lines are our highest voltage lines. Duke Energy Progress has transmission lines that carry voltages as high as 500,000 volts, or 500 kilovolts (kV). These lines are comparable to the interstates of a road system, carrying electricity from power plants across great distances to the towns and communities that we serve. Each transmission line serves thousands of customers.
Federal regulations require that our highest voltage transmission lines remain reliable and free from interference by trees and other vegetation at all times. A vegetation-related outage on these lines could result in the utility being fined up to $1 million per day.
Duke Energy Progress’ higher voltage transmission lines – 230 kilovolts (kV) and above – are already in compliance with federal reliability requirements. We are now embarking on a multi-year effort to ensure that all of our remaining 115-kV transmission line rights of way meet the same stringent requirements, removing incompatible vegetation that could reduce the capacity of these lines or create potential reliability or safety concerns.
Crews use a combination of vegetation management methods to help ensure system reliability. Duke Energy Progress trims and/or removes trees in its rights of way to ensure it can deliver safe, reliable service to its customers.
If a tree is inside a transmission line right of way and is taller than 12 feet, the tree will be evaluated for removal. For more information, please review the Transmission Rights of Way Use Guidelines.
Transmission rights of way are typically maintained on a three- to six-year cycle, depending on the voltage and type of line.
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.
We have a history of working with landowners and communities to allow compatible uses within the rights of way, such as farming, parks, golf courses and hiking trails. We will continue to work with landowners to minimize impacts in locations where we must remove trees, keeping in mind our mandated responsibility of safely providing affordable, reliable electricity for our customers.