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MEC using helicopters to trim timber around power lines

Mountain Electric Cooperative(MEC) recently chose approximately a two and a half mile stretch of right of way in the Sutherland region of the county to use a helicopter equipped with an aerial tree trimming saw that cuts and trims trees along this isolated area. This small community runs along Route 133 on the way from Damascus, Virginia towards Shady Valley, Tennessee. Although this is a first time endeavor for MEC, this is widely used practice in the industry to reach inaccessible trimming.
The goal of MEC is to provide safe, reliable and affordable electric service to all its members. An important part of keeping electricity reliable is maintaining the transmission and distribution line right-of-way(ROW). The control and/or removal of trees and tree limbs that pose a threat to the power lines is a major expense to MEC. Several miles of MEC lines are located in remote areas and inaccessible to vehicles.
MEC has chosen to contract with Haverfield International, Inc. to use a helicopter equipped with an aerial tree-trimming saw for side-trimming a portion of the ROW. The helicopter has a saw assembly consisting of multiple 24-inch rotary blades powered by a motor suspended on a vertical boom beneath it. As the helicopter flies slowly along the ROW, the aerial saw cuts and trims the trees.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.