Westar Energy

ReliabiliTree Frequently Asked Questions


ReliabiliTree Overview

1. What is the purpose of the program?
2. When did the program begin?
3. How does ReliabiliTree differ from current tree trimming practices?
4. How much will this program cost?
5. How are you educating the public about this program?

Line Clearance

6. How much of a problem do trees pose to our electrical system?
7. How much of a difference does clearing trees under power lines make to customer outages?
8. What is the white (or orange) dot on my tree?
9. What will my neighborhood look like after work is completed?
10. Why is work being done near my house but not at my house?
11. Wouldn't it be better to bury power lines?
12. Will ReliabiliTree crews clear the branches along the line that goes from the pole to my house?


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ReliabiliTree Overview


1. What is the purpose of the program?

ReliabiliTree helps improve electric service reliability by reducing the effects of one of the main causes of power outages - vegetation near power lines. The program is a continuous effort that supports Westar's core value of safety for you, as well as our employees and contractors.


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2. When did the program begin?

ReliabiliTree began as a pilot program in the Wichita metro area in 2010 and is currently active in all regions of Westar's territory.


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3. How does ReliabiliTree differ from current tree trimming practices?

Prior to the program, trimming trees occurred on an outage-based priority system. For many circuits, this meant that trees were not trimmed for 8-10 years. With ReliabiliTree, we trim trees on 4-5 year cycles, because this is better for you as well as the health and beauty of trees on your property.

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4. How much will this program cost?

We estimate our company-wide ReliabiliTree program will cost $34 million per year to achieve 4-5 year clearance cycles. We have seen significant improvement in our service reliability in areas already trimmed under the program.


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5. How are you educating the public about this program?

We meet with city and/or county commissions, city staff, and homeowner/neighborhood associations to explain the program and answer questions. Our public education campaign consists of various methods for disseminating information, such as newspaper, radio, TV and outdoor signage. You will also receive a door hanger with information about the ReliabiliTree program prior to any work being done at your home.

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Line Clearance


6. How much of a problem do trees pose to our electrical system?

Trees and power lines are natural enemies. When trees come into contact with power lines, electric service is hampered and a dangerous situation is created for both the public and for our employees in charge of keeping the lights on. In a nutshell, the goal of Westar's ReliabiliTree line clearance program is to balance safe, reliable service with preserving the health and beauty of trees.

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7. How much of a difference does clearing trees under power lines make to customer outages?

In areas where we have cleared circuits of vegetation, tree-related power outages have dropped more than 60 percent.

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8. What is the white (or orange) dot on my tree?

We use a dot system to help crews identify trees that need attention. A white dot means a tree needs to be pruned. An orange dot means a tree needs to be removed. The dots are placed toward the bottom of the tree. A door hanger with this information is left with every customer prior to work being done.

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9. What will my neighborhood look like after work is completed?

Our goal is to provide safe, reliable service as we preserve the health and beauty of your trees. ReliabiliTree trimming adheres to the accepted tree pruning standards set by the International Society of Arboriculture and the Tree Care Industry Association. The species of tree determines the amount of pruning. After pruning, the tree may look somewhat "stark," but over time the tree will fill out.

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10. Why is work being done near my house but not at my house?

Crews are assigned work by electrical circuits. In some areas, multiple circuits feed a particular neighborhood. This is why you might see work performed near your house but not on the lines that service your home.

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11. Wouldn't it be better to bury the power lines?

Burying power lines is very costly and comes with other challenges. Customers may experience longer interruptions with buried power lines because it takes more time to determine the cause and make repairs. Excavation work may also be required to diagnose and repair problems with buried power lines.


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12. Will ReliabiliTree crews clear the branches along the line that goes from the pole to my house?

ReliabiliTree crews only clear branches along lines in the utility easement (from pole to pole). Trimming along service lines from the pole to the home is the homeowner's responsibility. Upon request, Westar will temporarily remove the service line so that branches along the service line can be trimmed. We will return to reattach the service line once you've notified us the work is complete. Call our customer relations center at (800) 383-1183 to get further details or to schedule this service.


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