Clearing Right-of-Way is critical to keeping our members’ lights on. Right-of-Way (ROW) refers to a strip of land underneath or around power lines that electric utilities have the right and responsibility to keep clear.
In 2021, Stearns Electric hired arborist, Erica, to manage over 2,600 miles of power lines and analyze the ROW needs for our distribution system. Arranging work for Carr’s Tree Service, we work on a four-year ROW tree and brush clearing project to help reduce potential power outages and energy hazards. Erica marks the problem trees and Carr’s Tree Service, a subsidiary of Stearns Electric Association, clears the ROW.
In 2020, the first four-year cycle was completed. Since 2016, we have seen a 62.4% decrease in tree-related outages for members. In 2021, we started our second rotation and plan to stay aggressive with keeping the lines clear and with identifying potentially dangerous trees for removal.
For more information on the ROW program, please contact us at (800) 962-0655 or email our arborist.
EMERALD ASH BORER
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive insect pest of ash trees. It attacks all species of North American ash trees, which are very common in Central Minnesota. Stearns County is home to nearly 16 million ash trees.
Since 2019, the Cooperative has identified thousands of infested and dead ash trees in pockets of our service territory and we anticipate that number to climb quickly over the next several years. Because the recent infestation is so serious and expected to get worse, Stearns Electric needs to update its policies regarding Right-of-Way tree clearing and infested ash trees. If we don’t take these steps now, it will become very costly for the Cooperative and our member-owners.