Requirements for Overhead & Underground Electrical Equipment
Safety and reliability are the primary reasons BEMC takes a firm position on right-of-way clearance of all of our electrical equipment.
Whether it is located overhead, underground or attached to your home or business, the electrical equipment needs space to do its job.
Trees and overhead power lines don’t mix. Lightning, high winds, ice, heavy rains or even extremely dry weather can send a tree to the ground, and its limbs into a power line. The result is a power outage. Crews have to be dispatched, electrical equipment has to be repaired or replaced, and members are without power until the work can be safely completed.
BEMC has an aggressive tree trimming program in place to help reduce the potential for outages related to trees and tree limbs.
Our main goal is to provide safe, reliable electric service. By cooperating and participating in our maintenance program, you can help make sure your Cooperative meets its goal.
- A 30-foot minimum right-of-way (15 ft. on each side of the pole) is required for overhead lines. BEMC reserves the right to trim trees within the 30-foot right-of-way.
- Objects like security cameras and signs should not be placed on a BEMC pole.
If at any time, you see trees growing into power lines that may be dangerous, let us know immediately.
There is nothing pretty about an underground transformer, but they are a very important component in the delivery of electric service to homes and businesses on our system. If you have one on your property, please keep your distance!
We understand the desire to landscape around transformers so they’re not noticeable, but the right-of-way clearance boundaries established and posted on the sticker on the transformer itself need to be respected and maintained for your safety, and the safety of our crews.
- Never let anything get closer than 10 feet from the front or 4 feet from the sides of the transformer (The handle, lock and sticker are on the front).
- Never enclose the transformer with fencing, shrubs or anything else with less than a 10-foot-wide gate or opening.
- Never allow children to play on or near the transformer.
- Never pour waste oils, chemicals or other liquids on or near the transformer. These liquids can seep into the ground and damage underground cables.
Call 811 for Digging Projects
Today, more and more of the utility companies that supply your home or business with power, heat, water, telephone, sewer, gas and cable television service are delivering those services underground. It is also possible that these buried service lines are close to the surface, making digging a dangerous endeavor. Fortunately, you can find out where public utility-owned lines are buried on your property by contacting 811 either by phone or online. NC811 will notify our member utility companies of your excavation needs and those utilities will have professional locators mark their buried lines, free of charge.
For more information, visit NC811.org.
What is right-of-way?
Right-of-Way refers to the corridor or pathway an electric line follows, whether it’s along a road or through the woods. ROW provides utility crews with access to lines for improvements, maintenance and repairs. It also provides an operational safety zone between the electric lines and trees, buildings, etc. On the majority of our lines, we hold easements that give the Cooperative the right to clear land 15 feet from either side of the wire.
Why is a clear ROW important?
A clear ROW minimizes outages, plus improves power quality, reliability and safety.
What happens when trees and vegetation remain in the ROW?
- Causes power outages
- Causes lights to blink
- Obstructs visual inspections, making repairs difficult and costly
- Blocks access for maintenance and repairs, causing delays
- Wastes electricity by drawing it to the ground
- Becomes a fire hazard
- Becomes a safety hazard for utility workers and members
How is ROW cleared?
The ROW is cleared by cutting, trimming, mowing and where permissible, applying herbicides. In most cases, all shrubs, brush and trees are removed under primary (main), overhead power lines. Cutting and trimming are done by trained, professional utility tree trimmers using specific and proven standards typical to the industry.
Does ROW maintenance impact the environment?
BEMCs ROW maintenance program balances the preservation of natural habitats with the service reliability needs of our members, as well as the safety needs to the general public. In fact, it can actually benefit the ecosystem and other natural environments. ROW maintenance efforts create open areas that encourage the growth of wildflowers, ferns, grasses, flowers, berries and other low-growing shrubs.