Managing vegetation on our rights-of-way (ROW) is a key element to maintaining our transmission and distribution system reliability. Typical industry practice is to manage the trees and vegetation around power lines cyclically. Maintaining a regular tree-trimming cycle is costly and directly affects customers’ electric bills. During the past four years, AEP has spent about $860 million on vegetation management. In 2012, AEP spent $214 million, which is consistent with the previous four-year average. The issue of reliability has prompted several states to consider or implement more rigorous tree trimming cycles.
For transmission ROW management, there is additional focus on transmission above 200 kV and other critical facilities to meet North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) reliability compliance standards. AEP has adopted an integrated vegetation management program that is reviewed annually to ensure compliance with these standards. This program includes a sustainable approach to ROW management that allows certain species of vegetation to grow in the ROW, and stipulates the practices we employ meet NERC standards.
In 2012, AEP spent $214 million on vegetation management, which is a key element to maintaining our transmission and distribution system reliability.