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Right-of-Way: A Voice from the Past

A lot has changed in the 81 years since Nolin RECC was founded by local residents. The technology we have available to us and the tools we use for communication enable us to serve our members in new and improving ways. Despite improvements across the decades, providing electrical service brings with it certain inherent challenges. As I see a need to update some of our vegetation management practices, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to communicate my thoughts to our members. I happened upon an article from this newsletter from 1982. While the tone and some of the language may sound dated, I felt it was an excellent representation of my thoughts on the matter. Here is the unedited article...

From Nolin News, June 1982: Let’s picture you preparing dinner some blustery winter evening… or watching your favorite TV program, or operating a milking machine or just trying to stay warm when the temperatures are 10 above zero. The electricity goes off and stays off for an hour or so. You become angry and refer to your electric co-op in some uncomplimentary terms. Your electricity wasn’t there when you wanted and needed it.

But, perhaps you had forgotten that back during the summer, someone gave the co-op’s crew a hard time when they came out to cut the trees away from the power lines. The maintenance crew tried to cooperate by not cutting the trees back as much as was needed.

So, the cold, brittle limbs that should have been cut blew down on the lines and broke them. Now, on overtime pay and working in weather, under dangerous conditions, the line crews are brought out to repair the damage and bring your service back on.

There are, of course, variations to this story, but the point is that right-of-way maintenance is necessary if repair costs are to be kept down and good service is to be provided, both of which we’re sure that you want. We agree, trees that are misshapen from extensive trimming are not pretty and your co-op doesn’t like to cut them that way. But, we don’t do it by choice. Tree trimming is a necessary part of providing service.

Actually, when trees are planted or allowed to grow on right-of-way easements, we often don’t think that someday they will be large and become a problem. When planting trees, if they are put just about 15 or 20 feet farther from the lines, they may never have to be touched and can live their full lives without being cut out of shape.

The very fact that electric lines are strung on right-of-ways says that these strips of land can always be accessed by the electric co-op for service or rebuilding work and that obstructions can be removed whenever it is needed. But we also like to be considerate of nature’s beauty and not abuse that right.

So, help us where you can, because it helps you, too. We all want good service at the most reasonable cost possible. Better yet, give your co-op a call if you see tree limbs in the lines, damaged poles or insulators, broken guy wires or any other problem that you think could cause an outage, it may save us all inconveniences and expense. Whether in 1982 or today, right of-way maintenance is an important part of our service to our members. And, like right of-way, our commitment to our members is something that will always be a constant.

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