Why don’t you trim all the trees around the power lines?
The majority of our power outages are weather and tree-related. That’s one of the unfortunate realities of living in this beautiful (and heavily treed) area of Northwest Montana. Because of this, Flathead Electric Co-op has a robust Vegetation Management Program. Trees interfering with electric utility lines or equipment are pruned or removed on a rotating schedule. To protect the 1,700 miles of overhead line, crews have a big job to do, trimming trees along 150 to 200 miles of line each year. This is in addition to responding to hundreds of tree trimming or removal requests from our members each year. FEC’s tree trimming program is an industry best practice designed to prevent dangerous situations and ensure electric reliability.
Unfortunately, we can only control so much when it comes to trees. We can only trim trees within our legal rights-of-way, and when major wind events hit, tall and otherwise healthy trees are sent toppling into power lines. We can assure you that our tree-related outages would be far worse if not for the ongoing efforts of our tree crews. Tree trimming and removal is a constant effort for FEC and our crews in an effort to keep our system as safe and reliable as possible for the members we serve.
Learn more about FEC’s tree trimming program on our tree maintenance and safety webpage.