With tree contacts causing more than 30 per cent of power outages in Ontario, it's important to keep power lines and associated equipment clear of trees and brush to help ensure safe and reliable electricity service to our customers.
That's why our vegetation management program is so important and through our integrated approach, we consider various factors and use various techniques to plan and carry out our work.
So, what exactly does that look like? In 2016, this was on full display when our forestry staff was planning maintenance work along a 113km corridor that travelled through parts of Algonquin Park.
Planning for the work began in late 2015, when our forestry staff met with various groups, including Ontario Parks, to design a unique work plan that took into account various factors, such as environmental and public considerations.
"Our crews did a fantastic job working closely with Ontario Parks to create a plan that reflected the importance of this work and the area in which the work was being done," said Joe, a Forestry Manager in the area.
Work began in March of last year with crews utilizing helicopters to access remote locations in the Park. Over the course of a month, our crews dealt with some challenging conditions, such as deep snow and cold and windy conditions to maintain brush along 82 of our structures.
Vegetation management projects like these are separated into two phases. In the first phase, crews patrol the corridor, removing hazardous trees, such as those that are dead or diseased. Our crews then work along our power lines trimming trees to safe distances unit the next maintenance cycle.
With Algonquin Park being one of the busiest parks in Ontario, our forestry staff worked to minimize disruption during the busiest months. Our crews completed work in March and returned to the corridor in late August to complete the second phase of the project. Crews used equipment such as helicopters and ATVs, which helped them reach remote areas and also limited traffic on access roads. After 17,000 hours and more than 80 staff, crews completed the project on time and under budget.