Spring heralds a time of new growth, whether it be the budding spring foliage when the dogwoods and redbuds are in bloom or the planting of new trees in our own yards. But there can be a drawback to this natural beauty - trees growing in and near utility lines can cause power interruptions and safety concerns. We all want the comfort of knowing power will be available when it is needed. Therefore, we are asking you to be proactive when planting trees this spring. Be kind to your trees; don’t plant them near power lines where they will only have to be taken out later by right-of-way maintenance crews.
At Ozark Electric Cooperative, we’re committed to providing you with reliable, safe power. There are some power interruptions we can’t stop - high winds, ice storms, vehicles colliding with utility poles, and even squirrels and birds getting into our lines - but we do what we can to prevent other outage culprits. Weather-related events cause the majority of power outages, but vegetation (trees, shrubs, brush) growing too close to power lines and distribution equipment also leads to a significant amount of power interruptions.
Reliability is not the only thing we are concerned with here at Ozark Electric. Safety is a HUGE issue! Do you have children or grandchildren that like to climb trees? If so, power lines growing in trees can be deadly to those loved ones if they come into contact with them or step on a tree branch that makes contact with a nearby power line.
Therefore, to “cut back” on potential tree-related power reliability and safety concerns, Ozark Electric Cooperative operates an aggressive right-of-way maintenance program. It’s a job that’s never done — by the time crews finish cutting and spraying along Ozark Electric’s more than 4,800 miles of distribution lines, vegetation has already started to grow back at the starting point. Therefore, an ongoing right-of-way maintenance work plan rotation is used.
We need your cooperation
Existing trees that grow into power line rights-of-way will eventually have to be cut away, or sprayed in order to avoid power blinks, outages, and safety issues. Therefore, we ask you to be kind to trees so they won’t have to be removed at a later date. Before planting trees and bushes in your yard, think about how tall they may grow and how wide their branches may spread. Ozark Electric Cooperative requires a clearance zone beneath and 15 FEET on each side of a power line. Choose tree varieties with care and plant with power lines in mind. Carefully selected and placed trees using the Tree Planting Guide (right) create a beautiful landscape, provide shade in the warm months thereby reducing your electric bills, and decrease the need for right-of-way maintenance which can be very costly to your Cooperative and ultimately to you.
And don’t forget power lines are not just overhead. Be sure to call 811 or 1-800-DIG-RITE to locate underground utility lines FREE of charge before you start digging. Underground utility lines can be very dangerous to you if you hit one when digging or costly if you damage one and have to replace it.
To report vegetation you see growing into our power lines or if you have any questions about what type of trees to plant this spring and where to place them, give our right-of-way department a call at 417-466-2268.
2016 Right-Of-Way Maintenance Work Areas
Ozark Electric Cooperative’s right-of-way maintenance work plan for 2016 includes a total of 865 miles of spraying. Independent contractors will be applying herbicides to the rights-of-way along the power lines that feed out of the following substations: Mt. Vernon, Midway, Billings, Elwood, and Cave Springs. We are also in the second year of a three-year plan to cut 1,200 miles of rights-of-way. If you see the crews working in your area, we ask you to remember that the important work they are doing is what keeps a safe, reliable, and affordable supply of power flowing to your home or business year round.
Did you know that as a cooperative member, you can easily connect to your Ozark Electric account anytime and anywhere via a variety of internet devices through our SmartHub mobile and Web app? With the SmartHub app, you can:
• Check your electricity usage.
• Pay your bill.
• Contact our office.
• Report a service interruption.
• Check Ozark Electric’s news feed.
With SmartHub, the power of data is in your hands through convenient account management and detailed usage information. SmartHub delivers accurate, timely account information and allows you to make payments in a secure environment with the touch of a button, right from your mobile device or on your PC. The two-way communication available with SmartHub allows you to notify us of account and service issues while providing us a way to let you know about special offers, programs, events, and more.
To scan and download the SmartHub mobile app, just click on the menu item above labeled “My Account” then click on “Mobile Apps”. Or you can access SmartHub through our Web page; just click on the icon link at the top right of this page.
Why not check out Ozark Electric’s SmartHub mobile and Web app today? We think you’ll be happy with this more convenient and timely way to manage your electricity account.