A tree that has fallen in a forest.
One of your Cooperative’s top priorities is reliable service. CVEC has a reliability plan to:

  1. Keep the lights on by reducing faults.
  2. Limit the impact when faults do occur.
  3. Respond and repair as quickly as possible.

Read more about the Right-of-Way program here.


1. Keeping the lights on by reducing faults:

Most outages on the CVEC system are caused by trees growing outside of the 40-foot power line right of way (ROW) that fall into the ROW and onto or through the power lines.

In addition to our regular ROW maintenance work (nearly $3 million annually) CVEC has added some new activities to keep the lights on:

  • Increasing the pace and scope of ROW work, including removing dead or diseased danger trees growing beyond the ROW (with the property owner’s permission).
  • Clearing single-phase lines and ensuring that lateral branch growth is trimmed in a timely manner.
  • Adding wildlife protectors.
  • Improving grounding where necessary and adding lightning arrestors.
  • Utilizing vegetation management software and distribution system monitoring to track and analyze our efforts compared to incidents and outages.

2. Limiting the impact when faults do occur:
Power lines in the fog.

With 4,500 miles of power line flowing through rolling to rugged rural terrain, it should come as no surprise that trees are far and away the number one cause of outages, often in combination with a weather event. After trees, outages occur as a result of animals/birds, lightning, equipment failure, and actions by the public (auto accidents, tree cutting, farm equipment, etc.)

CVEC is working to increase the number of protective devices located along the distribution line to isolate faults when they do occur.

This includes:

  • putting fuses at the take-off point on all single-phase “tap lines.”
  • segmenting three-phase lines with protective equipment that will isolate the fault and keep as many people in service as possible.
  • looking for opportunities to construct alternate paths to back-feed power.

While fewer in frequency, when one of the transmission line companies drops the power feed to a CVEC substation, every member is instantly out of service and will be until service is restored by the Investor-Owned Utility that delivers energy to the CVEC distribution system.


3. Respond and repair as quickly as possible:

Despite all of the planning and best efforts, outages will occur, particularly in Cooperative territories that have radial lines. One downed tree may affect hundreds of members or it may affect half a dozen members. After a major weather event, there may also be hundreds of trees down that need to be cleared before all members will have service restored.

CVEC has worked to establish a quick response and repair process, including:

  •   positioning linemen prior to a major storm with stocked vehicles and rallying volunteer linemen from other states ready to pitch in.
  •   Since the primary (three-phase) circuits feeding out of the substations provide energy to all single-phase lines located farther down line, clearing the primaries first is logical and necessary. This step permits the most members to see power restored as soon as possible
  • View the power restoration process here.

Keeping the lights on . . .

Minimizing the impact and responding to outages
so members enjoy the good value of
comfort and convenience powered by electric energy.