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Bedford Electric says most service interruptions are due to overgrown vegetation

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 3:10 PM EDT
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BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - If you’re a Bedford Electric customer who had noticed momentary outages or flickers in your service, it could be because of foliage on the power lines

Bedford Electric says that most service interruptions are due to overgrown trees and other plants.

“We have had an uptick in momentary outages and flicker, and it’s primarily due to vegetation,” says Director of Electric Utility and Bedford Electric General Manager John Wagner.

According to the company, because the weather is cooler, they now have a dedicated crew working seven days a week to cut back plants.

“We try and clear 20 feet on either side of the wires. That’s the size of our right of way,” Wagner explains. “That allows us to safely get in and do maintenance and respond to emergencies. It also reduces the amount of interference we get from vegetation, which causes momentary outages or flicker, or an extended outage.”

Clearing the greenery around their equipment is something Wagner says the company has the right to do. He also says the company works on the standard seven-year cycle, where each power line should be trimmed once every seven years. However, not everyone is on board.

“The reason why people kind of object is because they have their favorite tree or a tree that grandpa planted, something like that that has sentimental value to them, or it just looks nice,” something Wagner says he understands. “But we have to make a professional judgment call.”

Wagner says about half a dozen outages or flickers a month happen because of overgrown vegetation.

“We want to try to be as respectful to our customers as we can be. We’re not out there to cut grandpa’s tree down, but unfortunately, we have to live up to our responsibility and do the best we can for our customers.”

The company serves 7,000 customers in the area that stretches about 10 miles south of the Town of Bedford to about 30 miles north.

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