Maintaining the Electric Grid

Heading Off Hazards

Discover how different power lines work and why vegetation management is critical to keeping them operational.

Understanding the Electric Grid

When you see overhead power lines in your community, you're probably looking at one of two kinds of lines: transmission or distribution. While both deliver power, they serve different functions. However, both require special attention to vegetation management to ensure that tree hazards don't impact service.

Carrying Power Long Distances

Transmission lines are like the highways of the electric system. These lines, which are generally 69,000 or 138,000 volts on Long Island, carry electricity from power plants to local substations. Equipment at the local substations reduces these high voltages to lower-voltage electricity, which the distribution system then delivers to homes and businesses.

Transmission lines require greater distances between the wires, ground, and vegetation because of the higher voltages they carry. Transmission lines are typically constructed on large poles or metal towers. Most transmission poles and towers in our service territory are located within rights-of-way on Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) easements and LIPA-owned land. These rights-of-way are cleared of large trees and other vegetation that could encroach on the lines and disrupt electrical service to thousands of our customers.

Because transmission lines are so vital, PSEG Long Island actively maintains the areas around them.