PARIS, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — EnerStar Electric Cooperative will be using an aerial saw suspended from a helicopter to chop down trees and vegetation in its service areas starting June 7 in order to prevent interference with power lines.
The trimming process will last approximately two weeks, EnerStar said in a press release Wednesday, depending on the weather. The co-op has identified key service areas in southern Edgar County and northern Clark County and will start trimming there in about a month.
According to the release, crews will sometimes be working along roadways and through private right-of-ways.
“We are concentrating on vegetation that is at risk for impacting the power line and is out of reach of our equipment,” EnerStar CEO Brent Reyher said. “Because the helicopter is not tied to the terrain as with ground-based equipment, the trimming is expected to progress fairly quickly once it begins.”
EnerStar has partnered with Aerial Solutions, based in North Carolina, to complete the trimming. The aerial saws and helicopters being used will cut hard to reach tree branches without damaging power lines and debris will be cleared by EnerStar crews.
EnerStar stated that while this project may be exciting to watch take place, it will be crucial for people to keep a safe distance from trimming crews.
“Our goal is to continually maintain a 200 foot radius around the aircraft so that proper clearance is maintained from the saw arm while in operation and to prevent contact from cut vegetation,” Reyher said.
The co-op plans to complete the trimming with minimal planned outages; however, Reyher said extenuating circumstances could change this. Additionally, he added that debris will not always fall exactly as planned and may also cause outages in some areas.
The amount of time trimming in each specific area will take varies from a few hours to a full day, the release said. However, the co-op is planning on notifying every impacted member prior to crews arriving.