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EnerStar to use aerial tree trimming

In a continued effort to improve system reliability, EnerStar is excited to begin a vegetation management practice with a technique that is new to the local cooperative. The co-op has contracted Aerial Solutions, Inc., and their services will allow the co-op to reach heights previously unattainable with the co-op’s equipment. 

Aerial Solutions, based in North Carolina, can trim trees in challenging areas from above, utilizing an aerial power saw suspended from a helicopter. The equipment is capable of efficiently cutting vegetation along and above the power line, and debris will then be cleared by EnerStar crews who will provide ground support during this trimming event.

Key areas of EnerStar’s service territory, in southern Edgar County and northern Clark County, have been targeted and trimming will begin June 7. It is estimated the project will take just under two weeks, weather permitting.

Trimming areas include along roadsides and through private right-of-way. “We are concentrating on vegetation that is at risk for impacting the power line and is out of reach of our equipment, said EnerStar CEO Brent Reyher. “Because the helicopter is not tied to the terrain as with ground-based equipment, the trimming is expected to progress fairly quickly once it begins.”

Reyher added that while this project is exciting to see in action, it is vital that residents remain a safe distance from the ongoing operations. “Our goal is to continually maintain a 200’ radius around the aircraft so that proper clearance is maintained from the saw arm while in operation and to prevent contact from cut vegetation,” said Reyher.

EnerStar’s goal is to perform this work with minimal planned outages, however conditions may require an outage in order to safely complete work in an area.  Reyher added that debris may not always fall where it is expected, therefore some unplanned but not unexpected outages may occur as part of this maintenance activity.  If a line is de-energized while performing this vegetation trimming, we will make every effort to restore it as soon as it is safe to do so.

The duration of trimming within each target area varies from a couple of hours to a full day. The co-op’s goal is to notify impacted co-op members prior to crews arriving in their area.

Reyher noted that debris in the roads could impact driving in the areas while trimming is in progress. Once the cutting is complete, EnerStar ground crews will work to clear any fallen debris and to reopen the roads as soon as possible.

EnerStar asks for patience as the co-op conducts this unique trimming work. Reyher added, “I am confident that the end result will be a more reliable cooperative power supply.”  Members with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the EnerStar office at 1-800-635-4145.

Aerial Solutions has over 200,000 flight hours performing this trimming service for other utilities.  For more company information, visit www.aerialsolutionsinc.com.

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