Entergy working to remove dead trees around power lines

Published 2:07 pm Friday, March 15, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Mississippi Forestry Commission estimated 12.5 million pine trees died this fall from the drought, wildfire and pine beetles. It is a problem for power companies like Entergy as a downed tree taking out a line can disrupt power and in some cases start a wildfire. 

Entergy states it has 3,000 miles of transmission lines in Mississippi and is tasked with trimming trees along those lines. Vice President of Reliability Shawn Corkran said terrain and access can be a challenge so the use of an aerial saw is needed to maintain service in a press release.  

“Vegetation management is an important way to prevent outages, especially during severe weather,” Corkran said. Having this tool allows us to cover the ground where trimming is necessary in a far less time and at a reduced cost.”

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According to Entergy, the aerial saw was brought back in partnership with Aerial Solutions Inc. The saw extends 130 feet below a helicopter and includes 10 24 inch blades. A gentle throttle by the pilot can trim a 20 foot path through a clustered tree line along power lines. 

Entergy states they initially trimmed transmission lines around Vicksburg and Natchez. Curtis Robertson, Entergy’s vegetation control operations coordinator, said a ground based project could take eight months to complete but aerial saws cut the time down to four weeks. 

“When we put together our tree trimming strategy the most important things to consider are the safety of our crew members, the ability to maximize reliability for our customers and the efficiency of the operation in order to manage costs,” Robertson said. “The aerial saw is achieving all of the above system wide.” 

Severe storms rolled through Lincoln County Friday around noon but Entergy reported 0 customers were without power as did Magnolia Electric and Southwest Electric around 1:30 p.m. 

At 2p.m., Magnolia Electric reports 99 customers in Lincoln County are without power. Pike and Amite County were harder hit by storms with 717 customers without power in Pike and 1,600 customers without power in Amite. Entergy reports 80 customers are without power in Pike County and 943 customers in Amite County are without power.