Insights

A Strategic Approach to Vegetation Management

new england fall foliage with power lines

Overview

The client is a large Tier 1 utilities provider to millions across the Northeast US that is routinely engaged in several new and replacement utility services projects. To maintain ongoing safety and compliance, the client regularly manages vegetation growth near their assets and infrastructure.

Due to their location, multiple stakeholders such as municipalities, government agencies, and private landowners are often involved in the utility's projects. The sheer number of affected parties quickly complicated the client’s vegetation management procedures. Often the client needed to secure Right-of-Way documents prior to conducting field work, slowing down the process, and jeopardizing compliance.

In addition, there were several organizational and process challenges which hindered the efficacy of their program, including: 

  • A temporary hiring freeze on arborists, contributing to a workforce shortage in the field
  • Labor shortages resulting in scaled back programs 
  • Leadership and organizational changes, putting many of these programs temporarily on hold

Facing all these challenges made it clear that the client would need the assistance of a consulting partner to better facilitate and manage these projects.

Our Approach

To ensure their vegetation management projects remained on schedule, the client put out an RFP for Project Management and on-site consulting services. Having worked with the organization in the past, and being familiar with their expertise in this area, the client selected PFES to assist with their program.  

PFES led a team to conduct routine tree trimming and vegetation management on a variety of engagements. Being a major energy provider with millions of customers throughout the region, this team works in several geographies involving multiple stakeholders, including:

  • Private property owners 
  • Luxury and private golf courses 
  • Municipally owned land critical to state infrastructure (e.g. railroads)

On-site challenges often arise when conducting field work. In many cases, this PFES-led team secured easement documentation, permitting the client to clear overgrowth on the land within a certain distance of the client’s infrastructure. However, sometimes no easement documentation is available. In these instances, the PFES consultant functions as an arbitrator between multiple stakeholders to carry out vegetation management operations.

Though complications sometimes arise, PFES continues to successfully mediate the relationship between the client and landowners, ensuring proper vegetation clearances are maintained and regulations are adhered to.

Outcome

In all engagements to date, the PFES-led team has maintained the integrity of the client’s transmission lines. This not only ensures ongoing safety and compliance, but reliable energy delivery to millions of customers.

The client has come to rely on the services provided by PFES to ensure conflicts with stakeholders don’t escalate to legal action. PFES enables the client to quickly resolve these conflicts without costly adjudication. To accomplish this, project specifications are often adjusted in the field. These adjustments, such as – tree removal services and landscape design—ensure buy-in and approval from stakeholders, while also enabling the client to carry out proper vegetation clearances.

The Perfect Vegetation Management Consulting Partner

Our team consists of industry heavyweights that bring substantial expertise to the table for our clients. We partner with you to reduce risk and uncertainty in your capital projects, delivering initiatives on time with significant cost savings while meeting industry and safety standards. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Details
Date
April 18, 2024
Category
Case Studies
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