Mobilizing and Keeping Arborists Connected Helps Utilities and Contractors Trim Vegetation-Management Costs

A 2008 article in USA Today notes that, “Trees falling onto wires in storms or wires sagging in the heat into tree limbs are to blame for most of the major U.S. blackouts going back to 1996, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC). The institute estimates that 90% of weather-related outages are caused by trees hitting power lines. Mandatory tree trimming did not gain momentum until Aug. 14, 2003, when transmission lines owned by FirstEnergy in Ohio came into contact with tree limbs and triggered the shutdown of 21 power plants in three minutes in the eastern USA and Canada. The massive outage cut electricity to 50 million people, some of whom were without power for days.”

To address this critical mandate and in order to avoid paying hefty fees that can stack up to millions of dollars, utilities need to keep trees away from the right-of-ways. They also must have timely and clear insight into records and arborists’ activities along their powerlines, all with an ultimate goal of keeping the lights on for their residential and business customers. In a number of instances, utilities outsource such jobs and duties to third-party contractors.

ArborMetrics Solution is a U.S.-based vegetation management company that provides contract personnel to perform such tasks on behalf of utilities. In order to move away from a pen-and-paper process and streamline their reporting internally as well as to their utility customers, the team needed to deploy wirelessly-enabled mobile computers, hardened enough to withstand extreme weather conditions and rough terrains in often quite remote areas of the country. The company deployed our fully-rugged Toughbook 19 convertible laptops, equipped with embedded wireless broadband modems that connect to Verizon Wireless for seamless, always-on Internet connection to the home offices as well as their customers.

Take a look at the video of ArborMetrics’ mobility success story and please read through their implementation story, as published in Integrated Solutions earlier this year, here.

If you have a compelling story to share with us as well, we invite you to please leave us a comment. We would love to hear from you.