It is NB Power’s first priority to deliver safe and reliable electricity throughout New Brunswick while ensuring that we meet or exceed environmental standards. It is important that NB Power manage the vegetation (trees, shrubs, etc.) that grow along both transmission and distribution rights-of ways. One way to do this is through the establishment of low-growing plants along our transmission rights-of-ways. Naturally grown forest trees growing along these lines can result in access and safety concerns for maintenance crews. Additionally, vegetation that grows into or falls onto power lines can ultimately lead to power outages and even forest fires. Entire communities can lose power as a result of a transmission outage. Losing power is more than a mere inconvenience – it is costly and can endanger life.
What does NB Power do to control vegetation and why?
Vegetation, such as trees, that come in contact with power lines account for more than 50% of power outages in Canada.
Many types of vegetation, including maple, birch and poplar trees, grow under transmission lines along rights-of-ways. If left unmanaged, these trees will grow into the power lines or could fall onto lines and can cause outages. Uncontrolled growth can also create fire and safety hazards and hinder routine power line maintenance. It can also make restoration efforts hazardous and difficult.
As well as potentially causing power outages, trees growing into power lines can conduct electricity and are potentially a serious safety hazard to the public and our maintenance and restoration crews.
To reduce all of these risks, NB Power uses a variety of methods to control vegetation. In fact we use an Integrated Vegetation Management Program.
What is an Integrated Vegetation Management Program (IVMP)?
NB Power employs an IVMP, which includes using a range of methods to control vegetation, such as hand-cutting, mechanical cutting, pruning, mowing, and Health Canada approved herbicide applications. Alone or in combination, NB Power takes care to ensure that the right method is used in the right place and at the right time.
For example, while maintaining transmission lines, it is NB Power’s goal to establish and maintain low growing vegetation such as grasses, shrubs and bushes, which are compatible with the operation of the transmission system, while minimizing negative effects on the environment.
The main steps in an IVMP are:
- Inventory – gather and record information on vegetation, watercourses, habitats etc.
- Development of management cycles - determine when to carry out the required work, based on vegetation types and growth rates.
- Planning – develop a site specific approach that reflects safety, reliability, and the environment as a priority.
- Implementation - select the right control method for each location under the supervision of our ISA Certified Arborists and Forest Technicians.
- Evaluation – inspect work during and after vegetation management process.
How does this affect me if I use a Transmission Right-of-way?
When NB Power crews are carrying out maintenance activities in a Right-of-way your access might be limited during that work. At all other times, you can still access and use the Right-of-way.