Preventative maintenance helps keep the lights on
LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- With strong thunderstorms and heavy winds coming into the Golden Triangle area Thursday, residents are worried about power outages.
Luckily for them, 4-County Electric has a program implemented to rid people of these concerns.
For over 80 years 4-County has used the “Right Of Way” program.
This program allows them to make it safer and faster for 4 County to restore power outages when they do occur.
With over 5,000 miles of line, and weather that is constantly changing, 4-County continues to have their hands full.
Severe thunderstorms have been the problem lately.
“The strong winds do pose problems for trees because they are tall and they try to take the wind and sometimes they can and sometimes they don’t,” said Lynn Timbrook.
And when trees don’t take the wind well, that’s when power outages occur.
Lynn Timbrook, an engineer at 4-County, said wet ground doesn’t help either.
“When the ground is wet and the trees, the root systems are trying to hold but if the ground is not strong enough then they will fall given a certain amount of wind in the right direction, and they will fall and sometimes they fall within our power lines,” said Timbrook.
But 4-County doesn’t wait for damage to occur before going to work.
The stay proactive through the “Right Of Way” program.
This program is made up of utility workers who are continuously trimming trees on the edges of the 30-foot right of way zone around power lines.
“We will go through with the mechanical equipment, bucket trucks or device, a vehicle we call a giraffe that has a long arm on it with a saw on the end of it that can get pretty high in the trees,” said Timbrook. “And of course we have men that climb and do things that the equipment can’t get to.”
One aspect that helps this program thrive is 4-County’s members.
Timbrook says, without their communication it would be difficult to maintain over 5,000 miles of line.
“They tell us all the time that they’ve got you know a tree that they want us to look at to cut or they’re afraid that it might fall and things like that,” said Timbrook. “So that gives us an opportunity to be in different places pretty much all across our territory to observe what’s going on.”
Timbrook’s team takes preventative measures; however, power outages are still possible.
This possibility drives him to further develop the “Right Of Way” program and find new ways to minimize larger outages.
“We would much rather not have them happen and that’s why were doing this and that’s why were trying to do it as well as we can,” said Timbrook.
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