RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES
IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Right of Way Management and You
by Bill Kornrich, Powell Valley Electric Cooperative Member Voices
Powell Valley Electric Cooperative (PVEC) is responsible for maintaining the rights-of-way along its 3,500 miles of transmission and distribution power lines. The right-of-way is defined as the area 20 feet on either side of the power line, a total of 40 feet. After evaluation of pros and cons, PVEC has determined that the best and most effective way to maintain its rights-of-way includes herbicide ground spraying. Beginning in the spring of this year spraying will take place in areas that were sprayed in 2017.
There are PVEC member-owners who do not want herbicides used on their property. This includes people with organic gardens, beehives, fishponds, people with health problems, as well as areas where children play or spend time.
For those who do not want their property sprayed, PVEC has adopted an “OPT-OUT Policy”. If you would like more information about this policy, call PVEC’s main office at 423/626-5204 and ask to speak with someone about opting out of herbicide spraying. This policy gives a choice to member-owners who are concerned about the effects that herbicide spray might have on them and their property and to avoid confrontations with the spraying crews.
If you wish to read PVEC’s Opt-Out Policy (Policy No. 100-6A), go to pve.coop/operations/row-opt-out. If you wish to speak to someone who has signed an “Opt-Out Policy”, call PVEC Member Voices at 423/724-8258.
If you choose to opt out, you will be responsible for clearing the right-of-way on your property.
A PVEC staff person will come to your property, meet with you, and explain what you will need to do. The staff person will walk the power line with you. You can choose to opt out for your entire property or for a section of your property.
At the end of the staff person’s visit (or later if you want time to think about it) you would sign a two year agreement with PVEC, agreeing to keep the right-of-way clear. You will have 75 days from the date of the PVEC staff person’s visit to complete clearing the right-of-way. A PVEC staff person will visit your property to make sure you have in fact cleared your right-of-way.
You will purchase signs ($10 apiece, added to your next bill) to be posted at the beginning and end of the power line you will be keeping clear. These signs (In English and Spanish) make it perfectly clear to the contractor that your property is not to be sprayed. The spraying contractor will be notified in advance by PVEC of all property owners (and the power pole numbers involved) who have chosen not to be sprayed.