Clearing rights-of-way, or the 40 feet around most power lines, is an important part of the service that Medina EC provides to members for safety, reliability and cost.
Regular trimming to direct growth away from power lines is essential to save members' time, prevent outages, and increase employee and public safety. Although we must prune trees, we know that it is not always a popular or attractive solution. Our goal is to be as respectful to the landscape as possible, while maintaining sufficient line clearance and room for our lineman to safely work in the rights-of-way.
Medina EC hires qualified contractors to trim and remove any vegetation close to the cooperative’s power lines. Hand cutting and mechanical clearing of trees & brush is used to do this work as well as herbicides to control and limit regrowth of cleared vegetation. Any dead, weak, leaning or dangerous trees tall enough to strike the wires or poles when falling are also removed. This helps reduce the number and duration of power outages. All rights-of-way clearing is monitored by a certified arborist to ensure all pruning is done to standards approved by MEC’s board.
The map below shows where contractors are actively clearing rights-of-way during 2020. In addition to these locations, contractors and crews clear on an as-needed basis during the course of other work and outages.
Frequently Asked Questions
MEC maintains rights-of-way (ROW), or approximately 40 feet, around overhead electric lines. This helps ensure that trees and brush do not grow into electric lines and cause outages or safety hazards. It is also possible vegetation outside of this right-of-way may be removed or trimmed if it threatens MEC equipment.
MEC makes automated calls and sends emails to consumers on large ROW maintenance projects to let them know to expect crews in their area. We also post work locations on our website under the Latest News section.
MEC and its contractors have a legal right to access and maintain the right-of-way in order to maintain safe and reliable electric service. You agreed to this right of access when you signed up to receive service from the cooperative. If you feel very strongly about not having certain vegetation trimmed or removed, please call 1-866-MEC-ELEC (632-3532). The cooperative will have a representative, who is a certified arborist, inspect the area and discuss options.
Due to the high cost associated with tree removals, not all trees qualify for removal. Dead trees near MEC electric lines, those leaning towards the MEC equipment, or trees that may require 50% or more of the canopy to be trimmed are typically trees that MEC would like to remove. In order to be fair to all members, MEC reserves the right to decline removals that are not in the best interest of the cooperative. If you have a tree that you think is a hazard near MEC electric lines, please call 1-866-MEC-ELEC (632-3532).
We will make every reasonable effort to contact the landowner to discuss tree removal before proceeding. When MEC determines that a tree presents an imminent threat to MEC electric equipment, however, the cooperative may proceed with removal without permission in order to protect its infrastructure.
Oak wilt is an infectious disease caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum. Tree crews on Medina EC’s system are required to sterilize their saws and paint the pruning wounds on oak trees.
MEC’s line clearance contractors will be in clearly marked vehicles with the company name. All contractors working for the cooperative have a letter showing they are authorized to do the work. We also include the contractor doing work in your area in the notification sent via email or call.
If you still have questions, you may call 1-866-MEC-ELEC (632-3532) to verify if the contractor on your property is one of Medina’s approved contractors.
No. MEC does not currently have a replacement tree program.
Medina EC requires tree crews to use lateral pruning methods, which allows the tree’s natural defense and wound closure processes to work. Crews also trim back to branches that are growing parallel to or away from the electric lines. This method of tree pruning helps to train trees to grow away from electric wires, reduces regrowth, and is healthier for the tree. Lateral pruning is endorsed by the National Arbor Day Foundation, International Society of Arboriculture, and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
The goal of line clearance tree pruning is to keep electric lines safe and provide affordable, reliable electric service. Medina EC understands that tree trimming can be unattractive and prefers to remove trees that will require significant and repeated pruning to maintain clearance.
No. Tree topping is bad for trees and encourages fast regrowth back towards electric lines. Topping can actually make a tree more hazardous by reducing the trees ability to close over and seal dead “stubs” and through weakly attached regrowth. Topping ignores a tree’s biology and architecture, and is not a good practice.
Maybe. Herbicide is a valuable tool used to help control regrowth and reduce the amount of tall, woody vegetation in electric rights-of-way. Where the location and species are appropriate for treatment with herbicide, MEC does apply herbicide. Medina EC only uses qualified herbicide contractors.
MEC keeps a maintenance zone around overhead conductors free from all vegetation. Any vegetation in this zone is subject to maintenance, not just vegetation in contact with wires. This maintenance zone is typically a minimum of 10 feet from all overhead conductors, but may be more depending on the species growth rate and architecture.
Medina EC clears brush in order to have access to the electric lines and equipment. In many cases, MEC needs to be able to drive large trucks down the ROW to perform repairs safely and efficiently. MEC clears wild growing, woody brush species in the right-of-way that may grow up in the electric lines or obstruct access for Medina’s crews.
No. Tree removal is an expensive process. To help control the costs of tree removals, we do not offer stump grinding or removal.
Where possible, Medina EC prefers to use mulchers, or hydroaxes to clear brush and smaller trees. In some cases, crews may use bulldozers to clear brush. Where mechanical brush removal is not appropriate, brush may be hand cut.
No. Medina EC only maintains their electric lines and equipment.