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Want UVM Info? This Is the Place.

May 12, 2015
So where do you go if you’re a seasoned professional seeking to improve your VM program or you are relatively new to the industry and trying to establish a good foundation for your UVM career?

Last month I questioned the relevance of peer-reviewed journals in advancing utility vegetation management. So where do you go if you’re a seasoned professional seeking to improve your VM program or you are relatively new to the industry and trying to establish a good foundation for your UVM career? Well, right here! By that I mean Transmission & Distribution World and the Utility Arborist Association.

Look at the menu tabs at the right of the T & D World VM site and you will see you can focus your search. Are you looking for articles on the environmental impact of herbicides? Look under Community and Environment. Have you heard of a new technology and wondering if anyone has experience with it and written about it? Look under Tools and Technology. OK, you get the idea. The articles were assembled from across the web. To extend the utility of the site though, as indicated last month with Priority Trimming to Improve Reliability, permission to print articles that were not otherwise published was sought and obtained from the authors. So not only does the T & D World VM site serve as the convenient launch pad for information from all over the web but also, you will find articles here that are not to be found anywhere else.

I provided links last month to some of these unique articles:

Increased Risk of Electric Service Interruption Associated with Tree Branches Overhanging Conductors

Storm Hardening the Electric System Against Tree-caused Service Interruptions

Here is another one,

Outside Right-of-Way Tree Risk Along Electrical Transmission Lines

These last two articles represent another movement in UVM that has been entirely missed by the peer-reviewed journals. These articles establish something that vegetation managers have suspected all along: that tree-related outage frequency is correlated to the extent of the electric system’s tree exposure. Further, the found regression algorithms with r2 values of around 0.95 indicate that measures of tree exposure explain about 95% of the difference in tree-related outage experience across various transmission voltage classes. Why is this finding important to utilities? Because it provides a risk management approach to tree-related outages and further proves two things: first, to reduce the number of outage incidents it is necessary to decrease the amount of tree exposure, providing a quantitative path to doing so and, secondly, that tree-related outages cannot be eliminated as long as there is tree exposure. Regulators have come around to recognizing that it is unlikely that one could eliminate all tree-related outages but there are elements of the public that incorrectly believe “you can have it all”, closed tree canopy streets without the inconvenience of service interruptions.

It’s not uncommon that there is relevant work financed through industry contributions (and possibly grants). Besides the sponsors who obtains the resulting report? Well we do if we’re aware of it. Here is an example. If you’ve ever been to an ISA utility session you have probably met John Goodfellow or as a minimum heard a presentation from him. But have you read Final Report: Development of Risk Assessment Criteria for Branch Failures within the Crowns of Trees? If your system has a lot of branch overhangs but the public has been resistant to your “ground-to-sky” pruning solution, you need to read this report. When you’ve done that how about undertaking an exercise to establish the value of this web site to you? See if you can find that article anywhere else on the net.

Sometimes it takes a while to get an article published. It may be simply due to the number of articles in the queue or because there are preferential topic areas for each issue. In such cases, we may receive the article months before it appears in print. This was the case for the excellent article and protocol Developing Risk Assessment Standards and Specifications for a Distribution System by Bond, Sankowich and Luley, which we published about four months before it appeared in the Arborist News.

To get the most out of the resources available on the T & D World web site, register. By doing so, you will gain access to articles that have appeared in the print versions of T & D World magazine, with photos and tables, etc. intact. A tremendous resource is the Vegetation Management Supplement, a combined effort between T & D World and the UAA, which appears each June.

When I graduated from university and started my career there were a number of individuals, such as Tom Plett of Conrail, Roy Johnson of Amchem, subsequently Union Carbide, and Murray Turner of Ace Construction who always had time to answer my questions. The generosity of these mentors strongly impressed upon me the need to give back to the industry. Do you feel the same way? Do you need a platform for sharing your work? Here it is.

If you have some analysis, research, a protocol you would like to share with the industry but don’t have the time or patience to deal with the peer-review process, send it to me for evaluation. Depending on the article, I may suggest it be submitted for the T & D World VM supplement. In considering material for submission, keep in mind that we are trying to inform and advance utility VM. Advertising of products or services will be re-directed to the appropriate department (we appreciate your support). If, however, it is a new product and there is adequate explanation of how it works, the need it addresses, why it is unique, etc. it may be approved.

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