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February 28, 2018


ASHLAND, Ky., – Kentucky Power has re-cleared 9,060 miles of right-of-way since 2010 as part of a continued effort to improve customer service and reliability. That is a distance equivalent to more than three coast-to-coast trips across the U.S., according to reference.com.

An employee for Kentucky Power contractor Asplundh Tree Expert Co. trims a tree in Carter County.An employee for Kentucky Power contractor Asplundh Tree Expert Co. trims a tree in Carter County.

 

“Kentucky Power has made significant progress in removing vegetation from within the rights-of-way and improving customer reliability and there are more opportunities in front of us,” said Greg Bell, Region Support Manager. The number of customer outages attributed to vines or tree inside rights-of-way has decreased 61 percent since 2011. Last year, the number of customers affected by trees or vines within the rights-of-way declined 60 percent from 72,076 in 2011 to 28,713.”

This year Kentucky Power will complete the first phase of its effort to move to a five-year trimming cycle. That initial clear is now about 95 percent complete. In 2018, Kentucky Power will remain focused on completion of the initial plan, completion of the interim plan, pursue widening opportunities, dead tree abatement, and removal of overhanging branches, Bell said.

Before 2010, Kentucky Power cleared vegetation, including trees, brush and other growth, on a performance-based approach. Lines that showed poor reliability were scheduled for clearing based on frequency of customer outages and the conditions of the rights-of-way.

Kentucky Power made such good progress on the plan that the Kentucky Public Service Commission approved a settlement agreement to scale back vegetation management spending to save customers money. The PSC approved the proposal as part of its order in Kentucky Power’s recent rate review request. The plan moves Kentucky Power to a 5-year cycle plan and reduces annual spending from $27 million in 2017 to about $21.5 million in 2018.

Initially, Kentucky Power used a third party statistical sample to establish a vegetation plan. The initial projections showed that approximately 1.1 million trees would need to be trimmed, 760,000 trees would need to be removed, and 17,100 acres of brush would need to be sprayed or cut in existing rights-of-way to achieve a projected 47 percent reduction for tree-related outages.

“By 2014, we realized the scope of work was bigger and would take more time,” said Forestry Supervisor Dusty Roll. “Kentucky Power had significantly underestimated the amount of vegetation in and around its energized facilities.”

Five months before completion of the initial trim, Kentucky Power trimmed approximately 573,500 trees, removed 1.9 million trees, cut 17,300 acres of brush, and sprayed 19,200 acres of brush.

“The Vegetation Management Program has been successful in developing a plan, acting on the plan, monitoring the plan, and adjusting the plan to meet continued reliability improvements at the most economical costs,” Bell said.

To not lose ground on existing reliability improvements, Kentucky Power has shifted its program from a 4-year cycle to a 5-year cycle to offset some of the additional expenses. The first 5-year cycle will begin in January 2019, he said.

Bell said Kentucky Power could not have been successful without its valued partners. Kentucky Power partners with several vegetation management contractors to support rights-of-way clearing efforts: Asplundh Tree Expert Co., Nelson Tree Service, Wright Tree Service, and Davey Resource Group.

In a recent email, one Kentucky Power customer in the Boyd County area praised work done by Nelson Tree Service. “I want to compliment the workers on their respectfulness and strong work ethic during each work day,” the customer wrote. “They put in a full day no matter the weather. Thank you for expecting such high work standards from your employees.”

Another Customer in Paintsville complemented recent work by Asplundh Tree Experts. “These crews were very hard workers and did a beautiful job trimming the trees and cleaning up.”

As the start of the 5-year cycle grows near, Kentucky Power will continue to review its Vegetation Management Program processes to complete the re-clearing in a safe, cost efficient, and effective manner, while improving the customer’s reliability and experience, Bell said.

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Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Ashland, provides service to about 168,000 customers in 20 eastern Kentucky counties. Kentucky Power is an operating company in the American Electric Power system, one of the largest electric utilities in the U.S.

 

Comments  

0 #8 Paul Bunyan 2018-03-05 16:43
This is all a huge positive campaign that Kentucky Power has engineered to make us feel better about paying them all of our money. Asplundh has been keeping the right of way clear for years - and we still have power outages. I don't think Lawrence Countians are going to fall for this bunk! I think Matt Satterwhite is making enough of my money.
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+1 #7 Why? 2018-03-04 17:18
Quoting More Dollars:
Quoting PR:
All about public relations, this is BS and they think we’re all stupid. Go solar, wind payments on a system will be far cheaper than electric bills.


Solar is NOT the way to go right now!! Everything is going to have to get a lot cheaper before one can eventually break even!!!


The payments on a solar system would be cheaper than an electric bill, in 5-10 years depending on your system it would be paid off. So why not solar?
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+1 #6 In the know 2018-03-04 02:28
This company is not what it used to be. Believe me, I know.
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+1 #5 More Dollars 2018-03-02 18:42
Quoting PR:
All about public relations, this is BS and they think we’re all stupid. Go solar, wind payments on a system will be far cheaper than electric bills.


Solar is NOT the way to go right now!! Everything is going to have to get a lot cheaper before one can eventually break even!!!
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+2 #4 PR 2018-03-02 15:26
All about public relations, this is BS and they think we’re all stupid. Go solar, wind payments on a system will be far cheaper than electric bills.
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+2 #3 DOLLARS 2018-03-02 15:04
Quoting In the know:
Why brag about something that is part of your job?

That way they can better justify another rate increase later this year!! It's all a BIG public relations thing to help the end game each year---a rate increase!!
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+3 #2 Here we go 2018-03-01 16:50
Sounds good but I bet this will cost the people!!!!! Time to raise the rates again!!
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+3 #1 In the know 2018-02-28 21:04
Why brag about something that is part of your job?
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