Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative

A Year-Round Necessity to Ensure Reliable Power

"Why is my power out?"

We’ve all come to expect our electric power to be there with complete reliability.
So, when it does go out, we want answers.

All too often, the answer for the above question is that a tree limb has either bumped or fallen on a power line. Downed lines are not only one of the top reasons for power “blips” and outages, they are a safety hazard and a big expense to every customer. Sometimes, the same tree or group of trees knocks out power to hundreds of customers over and over again. So we, you, every customer, pay to fix the same problem over and over again. Doesn’t make good sense, does it? The only way to end the problem and control this cost is to properly PRUNE or CUT the culprit trees.

That’s why FLEC has in place a vegetation management program. In a nutshell, we must properly prune or cut all trees that threaten power lines. The work will be in accordance with standards that are healthiest for the trees and the power system.

The basics of our new program…..

  1. We use an employee with a forestry background to advise us on the best arborist practices for the health of the trees. This employee will often talk with customers about proper methods of pruning and when a tree needs to be cut.    
  2. When at all possible, FLEC will notify property owners of planned line clearance prior to the work; however during emergencies, such as when a tree has fallen, this may not be possible. Please note that according to FLEC Policies and Procedures, FLEC DOES NOT have to notify anyone of work being performed on power lines or their easements.    
  3. Tree pruning or cutting is free of charge to the customer – when it pertains to maintaining power lines! (See notes at bottom about service lines!)    
  4. Customers have the option of arranging for an independent contractor at their expense to prune their trees to FLEC specifications prior to FLEC contract crews clearing easements in their neighborhood/street. A written notification must be submitted by the concerned individual and agreed upon by FLEC prior to the work being conducted. FLEC will not pay for any expenses in these cases.    
  5. All pruning or cutting will be done according to the best-recognized and approved principles of modern tree surgery (lateral trimming).    
  6. Limbs and/or branches may be cut flush with the supporting trunk or limb so that no stub is left. This method, called “lateral pruning,” is healthier for the tree than the old “rounding over” method.    
  7. Trees will be cleared to a minimum clearance of ten (10) feet, depending on the conductor nearby. Limbs may be cut farther from the lines to comply with lateral pruning methods. The reason for this much clearance is to insure a rotation cycle of 4 to 6 years between line clearances. Generally, a clearance of 20 feet from the pole line is maintained on each side.    
  8. The premises of the property owner will be left as neat as before the clearing in areas that have been maintained by lawn mower, unless other arrangements have been made. In maintained areas, our contract crews will chip the resulting brush and small limbs, but larger limbs and/or trunks are the property owner’s responsibility (wood larger that 4 inches in diameter). In areas that have not been maintained by lawn mower, the premises will be maintained by a slash and leave method; our contract crews WILL NOT chip the resulting brush, limbs, or larger debris. Dead trees will be assessed individually and if cut, FLEC or contract crews working for FLEC WILL NOT do any cleanup! Also, any pruning or cutting during outages are not FLEC’s responsibility!    
  9. Limbs that are hanging over lines will be trimmed as high as possible. All efforts will be made to eliminate weak, diseased, and dead limbs above the wires that may fall or blow into the wires.

Trees under/beside service lines (the lines running from the customer’s house to the transformer) are the property owner’s responsibility, although limbs lying against the service should be called in so that we can remove them. For your convenience and safety, FLEC crews will disconnect those lines free of charge at your request when you want to remove or prune a tree near them.

Call 1-877-FLEC-ORG (1-877-353-2674) to request assistance.