FAQ for Right of Way maintenance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is a utility easement?

Answer: A utility easement is an easement that allows a utility the right to use and access specific area of another's property for laying gas, electric, water, and sewer lines.

  1. What rights does an easement give Tri-County?

Answer: Tri-County has the right to enter upon the lands and utilize a certain strip of corridor to construct, install, operate, and perpetually maintain our electric facilities and equipment.  Tri-County has the right to use said land for the purposes aforementioned, however, Tr-County does not own the land.  Inherent to the rights conveyed in the easement, property owners are restricted on land use in the area covered by the easement.

  1. Can I refuse to let Tri-County trim and maintain tree growth within Tri-County’s right of way?

Answer: No.  The electric line easement gives Tri-County the right to keep the right of way clear through mechanical, manual, or chemical means.

  1. Who owns the trees within the right of way?

Answer: The member or property owner owns the trees on their property which includes trees within the right of way.

  1. Will Tri-County or their contractor haul wood and brush away after trimming is completed?

Answer: No.  Brush and limbs are generally wind rowed along the edge of the right of way in unmaintained areas.  These wind rows may be lopped with chain saws to reduce the overall height of the wind row pile and accelerate decomposition of the material.  In yards and accessible well maintained areas, brush and limbs may be chipped.

  1.  How wide is Tri-County’s right of way on my property?

Answer: It depends upon the construction type.  Typically, Tri-County’s ROW is forty (40) feet wide for an overhead pole line and twenty (20) feet wide for a primary underground cable.  Specific construction types and widths are listed below:

(a) twenty (20) feet each side of the centerline for a bare primary overhead line,

(b) ten (10) feet each side of the centerline for covered primary overhead line,

(c) ten (10) feet each side of the centerline for primary underground cable,

(d) five (5) feet each side of the centerline for both secondary overhead and underground wire.

  1. Will Tri-County contact me prior to performing routine maintenance?

Answer: Yes, Tri-County will make every attempt possible to contact the property owner (which may or may not be the member) by one of the following methods:  In person, by telephone, or by a door card.  There may be situations, which is rare but does occur, where contact with the property owner does not take place.  This may occur if the property owner lives out of the state, does not have a home or building on the property, or has not forwarded the proper contact information to Tri-County.

  1. Can I plant trees, bushes, or shrubs within Tri-County’s right of way?

Answer: No, trees cannot be planted within the right of way.  See the “No tree zone” as shown in the Tree Planting Guide.  Yes, low growing species of bushes and shrubs may be planted outside of the “No Vegetation Zone”.  Please refer to the Tree Planting guide for details.

  1. What methods does Tri-County employ to manage and control vegetation with the right of way?

Answer: Tri-County uses Manual, Mechanized, and Chemical Herbicides to control vegetation within the right of way.

  1. Does Tri-County use Chemical Herbicides for vegetation management and control?

Answer: Yes.  Tri-County does use Chemical Herbicides to manage and control the growth of brush and tree saplings within the right of way.

  1. Can I choose to not have Chemical Herbicides used on my property?

Answer: Yes.  Tri-County’s spray program is a permission based program.  All members are contacted prior to chemical herbicide spray application in order to obtain the property owners permission to do so.

  1. Are emergency and storm tree work handled differently than routine maintenance?

Answer: Yes.  During emergencies and storm restoration efforts, Tri-County is not always able to contact the land owner prior to cutting limbs or trees.  The clean up of debris left by storms, accidents, or emergencies is the responsibility of each property owner.

  1. Will Tri-County cut wood to fire wood length and stack it?

Answer: No.  Tri-County does not cut wood to fire wood length or stack wood.

  1. Will Tri-County grind tree stumps left behind after performing right of way clearing on my property?

Answer: No.  Tri-County does not grind tree stumps.

  1. What constitutes a “Danger” tree?

Answer: All trees outside of the right of way that are dead, diseased, cracked, stressed, heavily leaning toward, and tall enough to strike the overhead powerline(s) are commonly known as danger trees.  For example, large ash trees that have succumbed to the Emerald Ash Borer that are now dead, extremely stressed, and have the potential to contact the power line should they fall in that direction.