Frequently asked questions about right-of-way for overhead service

What is right of way? (R-O-W)

Right of way refers to the corridor or pathway an electric line follows, whether it’s along a road or through the woods. R-O-W provides utility crews with access to lines for improvements, maintenance and repairs. It also provides an operational safety zone between the electric lines and trees, buildings, etc. On the majority of our lines, we hold easements that give the Cooperative the right to clear land 15 feet from either side of the wire. 

Why is a clear R-O-W important? 

A clear R-O-W minimizes outages, plus improves power quality,reliability and safety. 

What happens when trees and vegetation remain the R-O-W?

  1.  Causes power outages
  2. Causes lights to blink
  3. Obstructs visual inspections, making repairs difficult and costly
  4. Blocks access for maintenance and repairs, causing delays
  5. Wastes electricity by drawing it to the ground
  6. Becomes a fire hazard
  7. Becomes a safety hazard for utility workers and members

How is R-O-W cleared? 

The R-O-W is cleared by cutting, trimming, mowing and where permissible, applying herbicides. In most cases, all shrubs, brush and trees are removed under primary (main), overhead power lines. They are also removed, as and around secondary, low-voltage power lines that bring power from the transformer to your meter. Cutting and trimming are done by trained, professional utility tree trimmers using specific and proven standards typical to the industry.

Does R-O-W maintenance impact the environment? 

Horry Electric’s R-O-W maintenance program balances the preservation of natural habitats with the service reliability needs of our members, as well as and the safety needs to the general public. In fact, it can actually benefit the ecosystem and other natural environments. R-O-W maintenance efforts create open areas that encourage the growth of wildflowers, ferns, grasses, flowers, berries and other low-growing shrubs.