Over the past couple years, GVEA right of way crews have worked hard to get to a 5 year rotation for clearing all of our transmission and distribution lines. A formal plan was adopted and, while we aren’t there yet, efforts have included two additional crews, updated equipment, better metrics. In addition and beyond the scope, they have been working on the secondary lines to the extent feasible when out in an area and there is a serious need.
Every 4 years, what is called a ‘sectionalizing study’ is performed. This analyzes past outages and finding ways to automate or replace distribution equipment so that when there is an outage caused by snow or trees, the outage can be isolated to affect fewer members. A presentation on this study can be found in the March 30, 2020 board meeting.
This past winter was challenging with trees falling on power lines and lots of outages. GVEA has been hopping to keep up with outages. Rain and icing in winter, snow loads and stressed trees from climate change haven’t been our friend.
While many of the danger trees have actually been outside of the typical 30′ right of way/easement (ROW), GVEA has been stepping up to improve the clearing process.
At a board meeting in October 2015, I pointed out that we were falling behind with our 7 year rotation of covering all our ROW, about 3,200 miles. That year, management extended the crew until Thanksgiving and the following 2 years, added two more summer crews. It obviously still wasn’t catching us up, so they hired a consultant to evaluate and recommend changes to get us back on track.
GVEA is looking to the next 5 years to catch up to a 5 year rotation. You can view a March 2018 presentation to our Member Advisory Committee (MAC) to learn more. The MAC and I found it pretty interesting and helpful.