Proactive maintenance and inspection programs
We have implemented an integrated vegetation management strategy that takes a risk-based approach to work selection, including a focus on compliance, electric service reliability, public safety and wildfire prevention. Vegetation management activities adhere to procedures and examples set forth by the American National Standard Institute’s (ANSI) A-300, Part 1, as well as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Best Management Practices for Utility Pruning of Trees.
Black Hills Energy has reduced its vegetation caused outages by 54% (2017-2022) and identified a 54% reduction in vegetation related hazards, identified during line patrol (2018-2023).
Our electric operations teams patrol every line mile on our distribution and transmission systems every five years. Teams inspect equipment for damage/defects and remedy any hazards per internal policies.
All sub-transmission and transmission lines are patrolled via helicopter at least annually to provide a different perspective in support of hazard identification.
Our teams have leveraged Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology across our service territories. All sub-transmission and transmission lines have been inspected with LiDAR in the past five years.
We have achieved a 41% reduction in hazards identified during line patrols from 2018-2022.
Our pole inspection program is supported by third party contractors trained to identify structural defects associated with utility poles. To the extent possible, we leverage a comprehensive inspection approach that includes sound and bore, full excavation and a pole treatment that extends the life of the asset and reduces the risk of a pole failure.