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The official voice of West Florida Electric Cooperative:

June 2023

Preparing to Serve You Better

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Providing reliable power to you is and will always be top priority West Florida Electric Cooperative (WFEC). These days, power reliability seems to be making the news more than ever.

As the energy industry continues to transition and more segments of the economy are becoming electrified, such as vehicles, machinery and lawn equipment, additional pressures are being placed on our nation’s electric grid.

With summer storm season upon us, it’s a good time to tell you about a few measures WFEC takes to ensure you continue receiving the reliable power you depend on and deserve.

We love trees and the charm they add to our communities, and know you do too. While trees provide shade and add beauty to our area, you may be surprised to learn that overgrown vegetation accounts for about half of all power outages.

That’s why we strive to keep the co-op’s power lines clear in right-of-way (ROW) areas. A ROW area is the land a co-op uses to construct, maintain, replace or repair underground and overhead power lines. This ROW enables WFEC to provide clearance from trees and other obstructions that could hinder distribution power lines. Our crews typically maintain a right-of-way area of 15 feet on either side of the powerlines. The overall goal of our vegetation management strategy is to provide reliable power to our members while maintaining the beauty of our area.

Modernizing Vegetation Management
Generally speaking, healthy trees don’t fall on power lines, and clear lines don’t cause problems. Proactive trimming keeps lines clear to improve reliability. However, traditional vegetation management is costly and time consuming. It entails on-the-ground, labor-intensive efforts involving dozens of workers assessing vegetation and overseeing the quality and completion of contractor work.

Planned Outages Improve Reliability
Although it may seem counterintuitive, we also maintain power reliability through planned, controlled outages. By carefully cutting power to one part of our local area for a few hours, WFEC can safely perform system repairs and upgrades, which ultimately improve electric service. Planned outages can also be used to balance energy demand, but only in rare circumstances. Rest assured, we will always notify you in advance of a planned outage, so make sure we have your correct contact information on file to receive the latest updates.

Vegetation management is an essential tool in ensuring power reliability and minimizing the risk of outages. As advancements become more accessible and costs drop, we anticipate using additional technologies to ensure a consistent energy supply while managing the environment.

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