CPU to Launch Citywide Tree-Trimming Initiative

Vegetation management is a proven strategy to prevent outages, improve reliability

As the spring growth season kicks into high gear, Clarksdale Public Utilities is launching a citywide tree-trimming initiative as part of its ongoing reliability improvement efforts.

The multi-year initiative, which begins in May, is part of the utility’s ongoing efforts to ensure power lines stay clear of trees, branches, vines and other vegetation that can disrupt service, especially during high winds and storms.

“Strengthening reliability is a cornerstone of our Bright Future initiative to improve service and keep electricity safely flowing to customers’ homes and businesses,” said Curtis D. Boschert, CPU general manager. “Investments in vegetation management are critical in delivering high levels of reliability and keeping Clarksdale’s electrical distribution system in top condition.”

CPU maintains around 105 miles of distribution line and 24 miles of transmission line. For the upcoming tree-trimming blitz, contractor crews will focus on clearing vegetation away from distribution lines throughout Clarksdale.

CPU line crews often use chainsaws to cut back vegetation when performing service calls. However, for large clearance efforts, CPU has found that it’s more efficient and cost-effective to use contractors that specialize in tree trimming as well as tree care and health. Contractor crews typically cut back at least 15 feet or more of growth to ensure that lines and equipment stay clear of vegetation for successive growing seasons.

CPU maintains a 15-foot easement around distribution lines and a 2-foot radius around service wires. CPU does not cut or trim trees on private property. If a homeowner wants to cut down a tree in the path of a service wire, linemen will disconnect the wire so cutting can proceed safely and reconnect the wire once the job is completed.

Routine trimming also helps control another serious threat to service: squirrels. Their climbing and scampering on power lines may seem harmless, but squirrels and other animals are a leading cause of outages, along with falling branches and lightning. Cutting back trees reduces their access to power lines and electrical equipment.

Because most outages are weather-related, CPU also conducts line patrols as part of its inclement weather program. In addition to cutting back limbs from power lines, crews can pinpoint malfunctioning or outdated equipment and rotten poles and initiate repairs and replacements.

Spring means more residents are spending time outside enjoying their yards and working on outdoor projects. CPU advises customers to stay at least 10 feet from power lines. Even if they don’t come in contact with a power line, electricity can arc to nearby objects and people, causing serious and even fatal injuries. If branches near power lines need trimming, it’s best to hire a licensed tree service.

CPU also reminds customers to stay away from downed power lines and always practice situational awareness when working near power lines and electrical equipment. More spring safety tips are available on CPU’s website.

Clarksdale Public Utilities is a municipally owned utility serving approximately 6,800 homes and businesses in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Its mission is to safely provide sustainable electric, water and wastewater services in a reliable and courteous manner by well-trained team members, committed to top quality, efficient operations, competitive rates and the vitality of the community.

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For more than 125 years, Clarksdale Public Utilities has supplied utility services that support our community’s growth, vibrance and quality of life. But we are more than a provider of reliable and affordable electric, water and wastewater services — we are your family, friends and neighbors. We are people who care. We are CPU.

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