Progress Energy, UF leaders plant a tree on UF campus
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Progress Energy Florida helped to plant a tree in front of the University of Florida’s Tigert Hall Tuesday as part of the company’s Arbor Day activities.
Trees are part of the natural beauty of the Florida, but trees and other vegetation are also leading causes of outages for utilities in the Southeast. Progress Energy works to balance aesthetic concerns with the responsibility to provide a reliable electric system for more than 1.6 million households and businesses.
“Progress Energy recognizes and supports the value of the urban forest and emphasizes planting trees away from overhead lines,” said Vincent Dolan, Progress Energy Florida president and CEO. “Educating our customers about proper planting techniques helps ensure trees can be enjoyed for many years to come.”
To help educate the public about the vegetation management process, Progress Energy is participating in additional educational tree planting activities across its service area, including Citrus, Seminole and Pinellas counties.
Customers and property owners interested in planting trees near power lines are encouraged to select appropriate, low-growing varieties. When selecting a tree, consider these guidelines:
• The mature height and spread of trees must remain 10 feet away from overhead, lower-voltage power lines. Small-sized trees (mature height – 12 feet or less) should be planted around these power lines.
• Medium-sized trees (mature height – up to 40 feet) should be planted 25 feet away.
• Large-sized trees (mature height – 40 feet or more) should be planted 50 feet away.
• Transformer boxes require space, at least 6 feet in front and 3 feet on the sides, free of plants and other objects.
• Power line poles must remain free from vegetation, including vines.
Progress Energy does not recommend planting around high-voltage transmission lines or in easements. Trees growing near transmission lines can cause a fire and be an electrical hazard to anyone in contact with the tree at ground level. Electricity can arc from the line to nearby trees given the right conditions (such as a voltage surge on the line from a nearby lightning strike) seriously injuring or killing anyone near the tree and interrupting electrical service to thousands of customers or whole communities.
Before customers begin an outdoor digging project for Arbor Day, Progress Energy reminds them to call Sunshine State One Call of Florida at 811 at least two full business days before digging so that underground utilities (cable, phone, electric, etc.) can be located and marked. It is also important to exercise caution when working outside near power lines.
Progress Energy Florida has been recognized as a Tree Line USA utility since 2006 by The National Arbor Day Foundation. This honor acknowledges the effectiveness of the company’s plant management practices with respect for the environment of the communities it serves.