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Davey Assesses The Changes in Vegetation Management Requirements After Hurricane Michael

Florida Public Utilities Company

Hurricane Michael significantly altered the landscape throughout Northern Florida, leading Florida Public Utilities Company to request a system-wide survey from Davey Resource Group and re-evaluate their trim cycle.

The Challenge

The damage incurred from Hurricane Michael completely altered the landscape in Northern Florida, including the service territory of Florida Public Utilities Company (FPU). Trees that had required routine maintenance were no longer there, and changes to the forest canopy created opportunities for fast-growing species to impact the facilities. FPU could no longer rely on their previously developed vegetation management plan and required a reassessment of its service territory. Leadership recognized the disaster presented an opportunity to re-evaluate its trim cycle with the intention of optimizing its program. To support this effort, Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) was brought on for their ability to provide reliable information and high accuracy data processing using remote sensing and tree interface.

The Solution

DRG established the tree interface, where trees pose risk to utility assets, for FPU’s lines through remote sensing. This technology provides advantages compared to determining workload via circuit mileage because circuit mileage does not account for spans lacking nearby woody vegetation. Due to the benefits of DRG’s tree interface methodology, the inspections were able to be focused on sample plots that presented the most tree interface. Detailed information was collected from 62 sample plots of FPU’s distribution system in Marianna, Florida, to determine if the plan was on budget.

The Results

The 62 sample plots accounted for 10% of FPU’s system, and data from the tree interface ensured that the most critical plots for assessment were pinpointed. Not only will the pertinent information extracted from this inspection help FPU understand the changes in their system, but this will allow for further growth in their trim cycle procedures as well.

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