Power line clearing improves safety, reliability and wildfire prevention

Submitted by Orcas Power and Light Cooperative.

OPALCO is clearing the right-of-way areas under power lines to protect the island’s electrical system. This clearing prevents power outages caused by overhanging trees and branches, removes forest fuels that could feed a wildfire and improves safety and access for line crews during power outages. OPALCO is working with professional tree trimming crews on Orcas, Shaw, Lopez and San Juan Island during the month of December to remove trees and other vegetation under or near our power lines.

The removal of potentially hazardous trees around overhead transmission lines reduces outage times and helps all members of the cooperative to have a more reliable system and safer environment. If you see a potentially hazardous tree, please call OPALCO so that we can advise and assist in the tree’s removal. Please do not attempt to cut a dead or dying tree that is leaning toward power lines.

Other ways members can help is by leaving room for the OPALCO crew to work safely on the devices in the field and on members’ property. Please keep landscaping, shrubs and structures at least 10’ away from the front side of electrical devices and at least 3’ away from the other sides. OPALCO crews must be able to safely access field devices such as transformers (those green boxes), day or night.

If you have questions about OPALCO’s right-of-way work, please email communications@opalco.com. For more safety tips visit www.opalco.com/safety.