We’re working to reduce the risk posed by vegetation near power lines in our service territory.
As your cooperative, Grand Valley Power takes safety seriously and has continuously engaged in proactive risk mitigation efforts to prevent the ignition and growth of wildfires due to its infrastructure. Our goal is the safety of our members and the protection of the communities they live in.
GVP continues to enhance its vegetation management program, including tree trimming and increasing equipment and devices in fire-sensitive areas to further increase resiliency and safety.
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.
Wildfire Mitigation Practices
- Vegetation Management - 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.
- Modified Operations - 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.
- Non-Explusion Fuses - 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.
- Inspection and Maintenance - Distribution inspections include annual pole testing for integrity, reliability and resiliency. Dedicated patrolmen also look at all miles of line on a three-year cycle, and more frequently in areas that we identify as high risk. Five servicemen also monitor the health of our distribution system including feeders. Substations are inspected monthly for any hazards including vegetation, animal or equipment failure.
- New Construction Standards - We have replaced older lines with new lines of larger materials and increased conductor spacing.
- Deployed New Technology - We have installed new equipment, including fault indicators, that will blink and identify overcurrent or problem areas.
- Increased Patrol and Maintenance Schedules - We increase routine line patrol and perform routine maintenance to avoid equipment failure.
- Added Protective Equipment - We are installing additional protective equipment on lines to quickly isolate a line that is damaged.
- Load-Bearing Adjustments - We evaluate transformer loading and replace overloaded transformers.
- Added Arborist Crew - Added a third tree trimming and arborist crew to further conduct vegetation management efforts.
Two Rivers Wildfire Coalition - Mitigation Project
With the help of collaborating partner agencies, Two Rivers Wildfire Coalition has recently completed the organization’s first wildfire mitigation project in Mesa County. The project site, located off 28 ¾ Road, focused on creating defensible space between riparian habitat at a Colorado Parks and Wildlife property and approximately 12 nearby dwellings. By removing invasive species in the high risk area the project not only protects people and property but also enhances river habitat and creates zones for Grand Junction Fire Department safety and access should a fire occur in that area.
After receiving a donation from Grand Junction Area Realtor Association (GJARA), the Wildfire Coalition selected the site because of the high wildfire risk along the river corridor and the impact the site would have in protecting homes. Colorado Parks and Wildlife directed and coordinated work in the area, and Grand Valley Power who serves residents in the defined area, donated in-kind work including trimming, chipping, and removing green waste.
See how this collaborative approach to mitigation and preparedness developed, and what's to come for our organization.