As the summer begins, GVP continues to enhance its vegetation preventative program, including tree trimming and increasing equipment and devices in fire-sensitive areas to further increase resiliency and safety. Due to increasingly high temperatures and dry conditions, effective immediately operations will move into a fire prevention mode systemwide.
Fire Prevention Mode is a modified operation of our electrical equipment that supplies our member’s power. This mode of operations reduces the risk of wildfire occurring from cooperative power lines or equipment. These extra precautions will mean that our lines running to your property will trip out sooner and our linemen will do extra patrols to minimize the chance that a spark from contact with the power lines could start a fire.
“Our goal is to re-energize lines as quickly as possible and to minimize any inconveniences to you. Thank you for understanding while we mitigate this risk. You may experience longer outages due to this mode, but safety to the general public is our top priority,” stated Bill Barlow, Grand Valley Power's Operations Manager.
While we work to ensure power is safely restored, it’s important for our members to also know that they are the eyes and ears we rely on as well. Please report any issues or problems you may see or hear. This vital information can help us pinpoint the causes of outages quicker. You can report this through SmartHub or by calling us at (970) 242-0040.
In addition, please visit our website at gvp.org/outage-center with dedicated resources on outage preparation, food safety, and outage information.
Our Ongoing Preventative Measures
- Every year, we trim thousands of trees and clear vegetation. Tree trimming arborists and right-of-way contractors work to maintain 10-15 feet of clearance around power lines. Maintenance also includes frequent clearing and spray around transmission and distribution poles and around our substations.
- In our more forested and high vegetation areas, we reconfigure protective equipment to shut down power lines on the first sign of an electrical fault. The line won’t be re-energized until it is inspected and manually reset.
- On portions of overhead power lines, GVP uses non-expulsion fuses to both protect the system and mitigate the potential for fire. Non-expulsion fuses melt at a certain threshold which cools before hitting the ground or flammable materials.
Improvements to “Harden the System” in higher risk areas:
- We have replaced older lines with new lines of larger materials and increased conductor spacing.
- We have installed new equipment, including fault indicators, that will blink and identify overcurrent or problem areas.
- We increase routine line patrol and perform routine maintenance to avoid equipment failure.
- We are installing additional protective equipment on lines to quickly isolate a line that is damaged.
- We evaluate transformer loading and replace overloaded transformers.
- Added a third tree trimming and arborist crew to further conduct vegetation management efforts.
Take Precautions to Protect Your Property
While we clear vegetation in the rights-of-way, please take precautions to protect yourself and your property. To reduce the risk, consider the fire resistance of your home and the nature of the vegetation close by. Create a "Defensible Space" surrounding your home through landscaping, keeping growth at least 30 feet from structures.
Visit ready.gov/wildfires or gvp.org/WildfireSafety for tips on keeping your home, your family, and your community safe from wildfires. For additional information on our mitigation and vegetation practices visit gvp.org/Wildfire-Mitigation.
Grand Valley Power will resume normal operations once conditions improve and fire risk is no longer high. Outage information can be found on our dedicated Outage Center, at gvp.org/Outage-Center and we update our Twitter and Facebook page about outages that last over one hour or are larger than 100 members.
Thank you for your understanding as we get through another dry and hot summer on the Western Slope.