ANDERSON – With the approach of winter weather the most common cause of electrical outages is due to falling limbs and trees that hit power lines.

The Anderson Board of Public Works on Tuesday approved a $15,400 contract with Plant Growth Management Solutions to conduct a survey of trees and vegetation around power lines operated by Anderson Municipal Light & Power.

Work is expected to start in October and be completed by the end of the year.

Tony Pouchard, superintendent of Anderson Municipal Light & Power, said the survey is intended to help the utility better manage the trees and vegetation around power lines. The survey will identify the species of trees and indicate which species are slow growing.

Pouchard said normally the tree trimming crews cut a box around power lines.

“The survey will identify which trees are a direct hazard and should be removed,” he said.

Pouchard said this is a partial survey that will be done throughout the Anderson city limits, in Edgewood and in areas of the county where Anderson Light & Power provides service.

“It will give us a representation of the conditions of our power lines,” he said. “We spend $1.7 million annually on tree trimming and we’re looking to lower those costs.”

Several other Indiana utilities have used the service and experienced a savings, Pouchard said.

“We want to improve reliability and reduce costs,” he said.

The survey will not include electrical lines that run to individual customer’s residences or businesses. Fifty percent of the city’s electric lines are not on city-owned property.

“The next step will be to develop a management plan,” Pouchard said. “That will guide our tree trimming plans in the future.”

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.

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