Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Excerpts from NYS Public Service Commission Order In Case 04-E-0822 Issued & Effective June 20, 2005

All undesirable vegetation within a ROW should be tracked and removed in accordance with the degree of threat it poses to the transmission facilities.
P. 13

No tree having the characteristics of what has been called a "danger tree" should ever be permitted to remain on a ROW, including in buffer areas. Side trees, trees outside the ROW (that due to their condition or location) pose a particular danger to the transmission facility, are what the utilities should designate and track as "danger trees". P. 13

For consistency sake, the Commission will define a "danger tree" as any tree rooted outside of a ROW that due to its proximity and physical condition (i.e., mortality, lean, decay, cavities, cracks, weak branching, root lifting, or other instability), poses a particular danger to a conductor or other key component of a transmission facility. P. 13

They (TOs) must continue to evolve and develop effective danger tree programs that incorporate the appropriate balance between attempting to attain zero tree-caused outages and the corresponding cost, public acceptance, and environmental impact of these programs. P. 13.

Each utility has established wire security zones around conductors into which vegetation should never enter, and wider priority zones that, when vegetation enters, trigger immediate or future clearing activities to ensure that the vegetation is not allowed to continue to grow into the wire security zone. …As a general rule, for clarification, any undesirable vegetation rooted within the ROW that in any way encroaches into a priority zone is to be completely removed to the floor or ground-level of the ROW. … As a general rule, for clarification, any undesirable vegetation rooted within the ROW that in any way encroaches into a priority zone is to be completely removed to the floor or ground-level of the ROW. Mere trimming of such undesirable vegetation rooted within the ROW so that it no longer encroaches into a priority zone is not an acceptable or cost-effective practice. Any undesirable vegetation rooted outside of the ROW that in any way encroaches into a priority zone is to be trimmed to the edge of the ROW consistent with industry standards in effect at the time of trimming. Centerline easements, without definite ROW edges, should be interpreted and applied by utilities in a manner that any undesirable vegetation that in any way encroaches into a priority zone is removed completely to the floor. Application of these rules will provide a natural and practical limit on clearing within the ROW, such that they will not result in any unnecessary clearing. P. 20-21

Each utility has established priority zones that, when vegetation enters, trigger immediate or future clearing activities to ensure that the vegetation is not allowed to continue to grow into more restrictive wire security zones. … remove undesirable vegetation that in any way encroaches into a utility-established priority zone. P. 24

Vegetative buffers on the ROW are the exception to the general rule …. Buffers are maintained at high use road crossings and other areas of high visual sensitivity, primarily for visual amelioration or unique environment preservation. In many cases they were established as mitigation measures during the construction of new lines, often as a condition of approval, or over time based on the concerns of adjacent landowners. In some cases, the buffers consist of undesirable tree species that must be constantly trimmed. Buffers of tall growing trees are a known area where vegetation-caused outages can occur …. The Commission's goal is for the utilities to inventory the buffer areas, evaluate whether they are still needed, assess whether it is feasible for any tall growing, incompatible vegetation found in them to be removed and replaced with naturally occurring compatible species or newly formed vegetated berms, and to establish a schedule to complete the conversion or elimination work within the next vegetation management cycle. P. 26


Prepared by County/BOL Staff.

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