The Tennessee Valley Authority is hoping to increase public awareness about right-of-way maintenance procedures that are designed to promote safety and reduce the chance of a power outage occurring. The TVA says the "border zone" area next to transmission lines is being surveyed on a regular basis, to help identify any vegetation that could cause problems.
John Dooley is the West Area Manager for Line Applied Services for TVA. He says a program which involves mowing and the use of approved herbicides is helping to manage vegetation in the right-of-way areas.
He says the effort is about keeping people safe, because "power lines and trees don't mix." TVA officials say utilities are becoming more aggressive in cleaning border zone areas around transmission lines. They point to a major power blackout that occurred in the Eastern United States in 2003 as an example of how vegetation can create serious problems if it is allowed to grow too large in a right-of-way area.
TVA makes use of helicopters to survey right-of-way areas to spot vegetation that could lead to problems related to the power lines.