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Emerald Ash Borer & Right of Way

Message to Members

At Owen Electric, we strive to find better ways to deliver safe and reliable electric service daily. We appreciate our members' cooperation and assistance in our efforts to reduce failing ash trees that pose a risk to our electrical equipment and infrastructure.

How the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Affects Trees

Trees become infested when adult beetles lay eggs on the bark, which hatch into larvae that bore into the tree. The larvae tunnel in the phloem layer, between the bark and wood, and disrupt the movement of water and nutrients, eventually killing the tree. Tree mortality can be swift, commonly occurring within one to three years.

For an electric utility, this poses obvious risks to service reliability. Ash trees that succumb to EAB are subject to mechanical failure at the root plate, resulting in the entire tree falling over at the base. Failure of this magnitude can result in damage to Owen Electric's infrastructure, causing conductors to fail, broken poles, and other hardware damage.

Why Be Proactive?

Dead ash trees are extremely hazardous to remove since they cannot be safely climbed. Quick and decisive action must be taken to remove these trees prior to tree death. All ash trees-- healthy, declining, or dead-- within the fall zone of the primary conductors (excludes service line to home) will either be topped or pruned at a level to ensure they miss the electrical equipment should they fall.

Member Chemical Treatment for EAB

Property owners reserve the right to chemically treat their ash trees to protect against EAB damage. When a member notifies the tree contractor(s) or an Owen Electric employee of their intent, it shall be documented as a refusal with a comment to that effect. It is important to note that the treatment to protect against EAB infestation is repetitive, long-term, and costly. Should a member fail to continue treatments, resulting in the mortality of the ash tree and subsequent damage to Owen Electric equipment, property owners may be held liable.

Debris Policy After Removal

All debris, including logs and brush, generated from ash tree maintenance shall be left on site. Debris left on site shall in no way interfere with roads, paths, waterways or access to OEC equipment or facilities. In order to prevent the spread of EAB, and due to current regulations as defined by Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)- USDA, no ash tree debris shall be transported outside quarantine zones.

For more information, contact us at (502) 563-3553.

Additional Resources

US Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

University of Kentucky - College of Agriculture

General Information About EAB


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