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Community Newsletter Line Clearing

Trees planted improperly under or near power lines pose a potential safety hazard.

A tree planted in the right location can help make a house a home. In the summer, trees shade our homes from the summer sun, reducing temperatures indoors. In the winter, trees help protect us from cold winter winds. However, trees can also get in the way of providing safe and reliable electric service.

Trees planted improperly under or near power lines pose a potential safety hazard. In fact, tree branches that come into contact with power lines are the number one cause of momentary short circuits (flickering lights) and major outages, especially when combined with thunderstorms, high winds, sleet or snow.

Customer growth and the 2003 Northeast power blackout have heightened awareness that transmission line rights of way must be free and clear of vegetation and other obstacles. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has recently adopted new mandatory rules that include stiff penalties against utilities that fail to meet the new standards for reliability of the power grid. Duke Energy is dedicated to ensuring that our customers have reliable electric service and that we meet all FERC requirements.

To ensure that our customers receive reliable electric service, Duke Energy manages and maintains transmission rights of way by controlling vegetation. Duke has the authority to cut or prune trees and keep the right of way clear of obstructions. In certain circumstances, some vegetation may be left in the right of way if it does not pose a hazard to the safe operation of the line. We are committed to balance the needs to ensure safe and reliable service for our communities with residents’ concerns and expectations.

Customers with affected property will receive information by mail or door hanger packets prior to any line clearing – explaining the work being performed and how debris will be handled. If a system reliability issue is identified, Duke Energy may need to take immediate action if the risk of an outage is determined to be significant.

Duke Energy works diligently to appropriately balance safety, reliability and aesthetics in our community. To learn more about tree planting and Duke Energy's vegetation management practices, please call 1-800-521-2232.