In order to provide safe and reliable service to our members, Chugach has a year-round program to remove trees and other vegetation from utility easements. Also commonly called right-of-way clearing, properly maintaining these areas is required by the National Electric Safety Code. Chugach’s program utilizes best practices in vegetation management and has been recognized 17 times as a Tree Line USA utility.
Trees falling into power lines are one of the leading causes of power outages. Keeping the easement—or right-of-way—clear reduces tree-related outages, and allows crews to safely and efficiently restore power after an outage or perform maintenance when required. An easement with trees growing into the power lines is a safety hazard for crews and the public. You can see the crews at work here.
The work includes removing trees and brush within the full width of the easement, which is generally 10-feet on each side, for a 20-foot span. After clearing an easement, two-foot-sized pieces are left behind for the property owner to use as firewood. If not utilized, the wood will be picked up and hauled away. Tree stumps are either cut to within a few inches of the ground or ground up with a mulcher/mower. Trees outside Chugach’s easements are not removed without signed permission from the property owner.
The Chugach tree-clearing program runs on a three-year cycle, meaning we try to cover our service area every three years. Recent warmer winters and summers have led to faster vegetation growth, so it is critical we stay current with our program. Members will receive a letter about two weeks before easement work is to begin in their area. The day the crew comes to do the clearing, they will knock on the homeowner’s door before beginning work. For questions about Chugach’s vegetation clearing program, please call 762-7655.