wilderness with snowy mountains in background

Maintenance & Reliability

Our SMART (Strategic Maintenance and Reliability Taskforce) program, developed in 2013, was put in place to determine the causes of short nuisance blinks and outages. This program requires a pole-to-pole inspection of our entire system every two years.

The Right-of-Way (ROW) crews are trained to inspect the system and recognize and document line maintenance issues before problems occur. Once inspections are complete, identified issues are assigned a priority level for the orderly scheduling of follow-up work. This program has considerably reduced the frequency and length of outages.

Work Being Performed

  • Inspection of each pole from the ground to the conductors
  • Opening and inspecting all underground cabinets
  • Changing out cracked or broken insulators and cutouts
  • Checking for loose connections
  • Repairing frayed conductors
  • Installing guards to prevent animal-related outages
  • Installing raptor protection to prevent nesting on poles
  • Trimming or removing vegetation inside the right-of-way
  • Replacing aging poles
  • Installing or replacing lightning arrestors

Member Impact

Typically, ROW crews are able to perform their work without impacting members. If scheduled work is required, MEC will notify potentially impacted members by phone or mail.

Although situations requiring immediate attention are rare, they are often necessary for the safety of our members, crews and community. In these cases, members may receive minimal or no advance notice of an outage.

Ways You Can Help

  • Refrain from attaching equipment to poles, such as satellite dishes, signage or basketball hoops. These items not only make it hard for the linemen to climb poles, but exposed nails and screws can cause injuries. If our crew encounters unauthorized attachments, they will be removed and placed near the base of the pole.
  • If work is scheduled on your property, please ensure the safety of our crews by restraining your animal(s). If work cannot be performed due to aggressive animals, work will need to be reschedule.
  • Could any of the trees on your property impact a power line? If the answer is yes, give us a call. Our ROW crew is available to remove or trim trees or vegetation that are progressing towards or leaning on our lines. Please remember that only qualified workers are allowed to work within ten feet of an energized line. Alternatively, if you are contacted about a tree needing to be trimmed or removed on your property, please understand that these trees have been identified as having a potential impact on service reliability and, in some cases, could lead to wildfires.
  • Plant large, fast-growing trees away from the lines, which means they are located at least ten feet away from the lines when fully grown. Before you plant, know what’s below and remember to call 811 for a free locate of your property at least two days before you dig.

Zone 3 (20 feet or more from pole): plant trees such as Colorado Blue Spruce, Norway Maple, Birch, Scots Pine. Zone 2 (10 to 20 feet from pole): plant shrubs such as Juniper, Red Twig Dogwood, Lilacs, Spirea, Nanking Cherry. Zone 1 (within 10 feet of pole): grasses, annuals and non-woody perennials are recommended.