Clearing a Path to Reliability

Posted: December 2, 2022 at 11:37 am

There are many ways that Peace River Electric Cooperative provides you with safe, reliable electric service. One of the most common—and crucial—programs is referred to as right-of-way clearing.

A right-of-way (ROW) is a strip of land underneath or around power lines that is your electric cooperative’s right and responsibility to maintain and clear. Trees must maintain a safe distance from conductors to minimize the possibility of harming people or disrupting electrical service. Specifications vary, but a general guideline for maintaining a safe ROW is 10 feet of clearance on either side of the primary conductors and all limbs removed above the highest wire on the pole. PRECO’s mission is to reclaim our ROW using a ground-to-sky method.

Maintaining a clean ROW is critical to keeping trees away from power lines and keeping your lights on. So far this year, trees, shrubs or bushes growing too close to power lines are responsible for 18% of PRECO power outages. Our goal is to reduce that percentage to maintain better reliability.

ROW clearing also helps keep your family safe by removing tree branches that may become energized due to close contact with a power line. PRECO’s lines can carry up to 14,400 volts, meaning an energized tree branch is incredibly dangerous—possibly deadly. Be mindful when around trees close to power lines and warn your children that climbing trees near power lines is extremely unsafe.

PRECO’s clearance contractor, Georgia Right of Way, removes branches and brush away from power lines across our entire system. This group uses skilled personnel to safely prune or remove trees using chainsaws, bucket trucks, woodchippers and more to keep lines free from hazards.

Our contractor, in compliance with national standards, prunes or removes trees that threaten your electric service. Providing proper clearance for repair crews and trucks helps them restore power faster during an outage.

Our commitment to safety is why we discourage our members and untrained contractors from pruning trees near power lines. If you are planning to remove or trim a tree near PRECO lines or if you spot a tree that may endanger the lines, please report it by calling us at 800-282-3824.

To learn more about our tree maintenance program and to receive information about how to keep the ROW around your home clear, visit our website at