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Vegetation Management Program FAQ

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North Georgia EMC (NGEMC) strives to provide our community with safe and reliable power. Trimming and managing the vegetation along our power line rights-of-way (ROW) is an important part of providing reliable electric service. With an ongoing ROW maintenance program, we are able to inspect and trim more than 6,000 miles of line in five-year cycles. We have created this Frequently Asked Questions Guide to inform our members and to answer questions you may have about our vegetation program. If you need more information, please contact our Vegetation Management office or by calling NGEMC, 706.259.3394, extension 1209.

Why does NGEMC trim trees?

Trees growing into or near power lines can cause outages and can be dangerous. Trees touching power lines can give electrical current a path to ground, creating a potential hazard to people, animals and crews restoring power. They can also cause power outages by interrupting the flow of electricity or damaging the distribution line.

Which trees will need to be trimmed?

According to Georgia State statute, NGEMC and other electric utilities may maintain ROW easements in order to provide essential service to customers. We maintain ROW of 20 feet on both sides of the power line. Any vegetation growing into that space or having the potential to encroach that area in the next five years will be trimmed.

How will I know if I have trees that need to be trimmed?

If you have requested a forester to come look at particular tree, we will leave you a door hanger describing the work and a phone number at which you can reach us. Before any routine maintenance trimming begins, we notify you by phone to inform you of crews trimming in your area. If you are not at home, we will leave you a message.

Who performs the trimming?

NGEMC contracts with experienced companies certified in vegetation management. Contractors use bucket trucks, climbing gear and, in some cases, helicopters to trim trees that encroach in NGEMC rights-of-way. Because of the high risks involved in trimming trees near power lines, NGEMC crews are trained to safely trim trees that are growing into the ROW. NGEMC strongly discourages anyone other than trained professionals employed by the utility from doing any trimming on vegetation that is within power line ROW.

Will NGEMC remove trees instead of trimming them?

Our certified arborist will meet with homeowners who wish to have a tree removed to determine whether or not the tree is endangering the power lines.     

Does NGEMC use herbicide?

We do use herbicide along our ROW. The herbicide is approved by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is applied only by contractors licensed to do that work. When applying herbicide, our contractors stay clear of buffer zones such as water sources, farmland and fence rows. Our members can request that no herbicide is to be used on their property by simply calling or e-mailing us their name and address. We will in turn add that to our no-spray list.

What trees are best for me to plant near or under the power lines?

NGEMC encourages homeowners to consider the size, growth rate, and species before planting any vegetation near the ROW.  Please keep in mind that any vegetation that grows into the cooperative’s ROW will be trimmed or cut. We encourage you to plant vegetation outside of our ROW to minimize potential for needed maintenance. Do not plant trees that grow taller than 25 feet in height near overhead power lines. Trees such as redbud, dogwood, and crabapple work well in these areas. There are several web sites with a wealth of knowledge on planting trees near power lines and which species work best around power lines.  Please feel free to visit the Arbor Day Foundation for ideas.


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