Essential Energy will soon begin a comprehensive vegetation management program in Forbes and the surrounding area, to ensure the ongoing safety and reliability of the local electricity network.
The vegetation program will be undertaken by Essential Energy's qualified contractors in compliance with the Australian Standard AS 4373 'Pruning of Amenity Trees' where possible. Occasionally, however, their practices can vary to accommodate the physical location and regrowth pattern of particular vegetation, or to comply with the Electrical Safety Rules and legislation such as the Electricity Supply Act 1995 (NSW).
Contractors will also comply with the Essential Energy operational protocols which have been developed to ensure employee, contractor and community safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, including complying with all social distancing requirements.
Operations Manager Central, Bronwyn Sigmund, said the vegetation program was about striking a balance between preserving the town's trees and ensuring power safety and reliability for the community.
"A safe and reliable electricity network is a priority for Essential Energy and the management of vegetation in and around powerlines plays a crucial role in safeguarding power supplies," Bronwyn said.
While Essential Energy is committed to protecting the local environment and the safety of the community, Bronwyn emphasised that trees and overhead powerlines could be a dangerous combination.
"Trees coming into contact with overhead powerlines pose serious hazards to people, wildlife and the surrounding environment, with potential for bushfires, damage to property, injury and unplanned power outages," Bronwyn said.
"Our comprehensive vegetation management program ensures minimum safety clearances are maintained between trees and overhead powerlines and helps to minimise the trimming required in the future, while also securing a more reliable power supply."
Essential Energy uses directional pruning techniques that remove branches growing towards a powerline and encourage re-growth away from the power network. While this can affect visual amenity, these techniques are considered best practice throughout the arboriculture industry and are used by most power companies in Australia.
Residents can download Essential Energy's Tree Planting Guide at essentialenergy.com.au/trees for helpful tips on appropriate species for planting near powerlines or contact 13 23 91 for more information.
Weather permitting, the vegetation program will commence next week.