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FERC approves new vegetation management standards

From the March 22, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published March 22, 2013

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a new rule March 21 for managing vegetation along power line rights of way. The standards proposed by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. for the first time include certain transmission lines that operate at below 200 kilovolts that have been identified as having system limitations, such as voltage or transfer limits, that if violated could lead to system instability or cascading outages. The new standards also require annual inspections and incorporate new minimum clearance distances into the text of the standard.

The commission noted that vegetation management does not necessarily mean removal of trees, and that transmission owners should work with landowners to determine an appropriate approach that assures reliability and respects private land owner concerns. "This approach requires clear communications between transmission owners and private landowners; and meaningful outreach should indicate how a transmission owner plans to execute vegetation management along the right-of-way," FERC said, adding that a transmission owner’s decision to remove vegetation should not be ascribed to the commission. 

The final rule will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register


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