On Friday, April 25, 2014 Nueces Electric Cooperative invited members of the co-op to join them for a tree giveaway in celebration of Arbor Day. The second annual event proved to be extremely popular and will continue to grow each year. In 2013 the co-op gave away 300 trees, this year the number of trees given away increased and expanded to include multiple service centers located in Calallen, Robstown, Ricardo, Orange Grove, and Ben Bolt. The program was received extremely well by members and over 1,000 members participated.
Trees are big business at Nueces Electric Cooperative. Each year the co-op spends an estimated $500,000 on trimming trees and clearing brush from around power lines. Nation-wide, limbs falling on or getting blown into power lines are the number one reason for power outages.
But at the same time a well planted tree could save a homeowner big bucks on their electric bill. Deciduous trees (trees that lose all of their leaves each fall) save energy in summer by shading houses, paved areas, and air conditioners. Small deciduous trees and shrubs, and especially those with low, dense branches, also can serve as effective wind barriers.
To make an impact on your electric bill, plant shade trees so they will shade east-facing walls and windows from 7 to 11 a.m. and west-facing surfaces from 3 to 7 p.m. during June, July, and August. Air conditioners should also be shaded. Prune branches to allow at least several feet of air flow around the air conditioning equipment. Shrubs should not be planted near the air conditioner or they will reduce air flow and efficiency.
When planting trees, or any kind of work that requires digging in the ground, always call 8-1-1 first to find out what may be laying underneath the dirt. Water, gas, and electric lines are often unmarked and can be buried as shallow as three feet from the surface. Digging without calling can disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, harm you and those around you and potentially result in fines and repair costs. Calling 8-1-1 before digging gets your underground utility lines marked for free.
NEC recommends you plant any tree at least 20 feet away from power lines. As the tree grows, so will it’s canopy, and it could become tangled in your power lines. When selecting your trees, choose the right tree for the right place in your yard. Consider where you are planting the tree and how tall it is expected to grow. Power lines are only 20 feet off the ground and most varieties of trees have a maturity growth of 35 to 65 feet. If your tree grows into power lines, it could not only cause an outage during a storm, children who climb the tree could be electrocuted.
Trimming trees could be considered a fine art by some, and a hassle for others. But the rules stay the same around power lines. Trim your trees so they are at least ten feet away from a power line. If the tree has already grown into the lines, call your power line company to safely trim your trees for you.
Nueces Electric Cooperative encourages you to plant trees to save energy, just be mindful of the location where you are planting and always be safe around electricity. For more information visit www.safeelectricity.org (search “trees”) or www.energy.gov (search “landscaping”).
NEC is celebrating 75 years of service to members! Started by a group of farmers and ranchers who truly exemplified the pioneer spirit, Nueces Electric Cooperative, Inc. has served the Coastal Bend since 1938. Nueces Electric Cooperative has evolved into a Cooperative that provides delivery services to over 19,000 meters utilizing over 3,100 miles of energized power line. Nueces Electric Cooperative also provides competitive retail services to Texas residents and businesses. For information contact us at 1.800.NEC.WATT or www.nueceselectric.org.



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