"Since launching the wood chip program with the farms, this has expanded to parks and other organizations that struggle to find affordable mulch for erosion control and ground maintenance. It's a win-win for us because we've got an abundance of chips, and it doesn't cost us anything to drop these where they're needed in the community."
Supporting Community and Sustainability with Location-Based Technology
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia Power serves 2.4 million electricity customers in the state of Georgia. Georgia Power conducts extensive vegetation management along its transmission and distribution lines. In 2020, the utility and Clearion codeveloped an automated workflow to connect vegetation management crews with community organizations that need mulch.
Electric & Gas
Dumping vegetation management waste products consumed excessive time and fuel.
Community organizations use the Clearion app to identify their dump sites for Georgia Power vegetation crews to use.
Georgia Power reduced costs by achieving higher crew productivity and lower fuel consumption while supporting the utility's community and sustainability goals.
Georgia Power employs several hundred vegetation management crews that remove trees and brush from the rights-of-way. This activity generates tons of mulch that must be disposed of responsibly. When contractors work in urban areas, they often drive to remote dump sites for disposal of the mulch. This time spent driving increases both the labor and fuel costs of the vegetation management program.
Furthermore, the utility is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Given the utility's many heavy vehicles, the tree-trimming program is a high-impact target for diesel emissions reduction.
Organic mulch is very popular for many landscaping uses. Homeowners, community gardens, farms, and local parks all need wood chips. Unfortunately, it is often difficult and costly for these organizations to find and coordinate wood chip deliveries. Tree crews hauling wood chips might pass a viable dump location without any visibility into the need of the organization there. Conveniently, many of the potential sites are located in urban area.
Georgia Power's vegetation crews use a Clearion mobile app to view their work assignments and report work completion. Building on this foundation, Georgia Power enabled third parties to identify their desired wood chip dump locations. When these organizations need wood chips, they notify Georgia Power with a virtual pin on the map using the Clearion app.
This information is automatically synchronized with the app's map. Before driving to dump wood chips, crews see nearby dump sites. It's a win-win situation. Crews save time spent driving, which minimizes their carbon footprint, and the community gets the mulch it needs.
Tree crews quickly adopted the new workflow that leveraged their existing work management tools.
Clearion solutions help utility and infrastructure companies automate their vegetation management and asset maintenance programs. Clearion, a Gold Tier member of the Esri Partner Network, solves complex operational problems. As a leader in mobile-enabled solutions for planners, arborists, inspectors, and line clearance crews, Clearion designed an easy-to-deploy solution built on the work management software previously deployed at Georgia Power.
Georgia Power realized tangible results by closing the gap in the supply and demand of wood chips. As a result, the utility reduced costs, gaining higher crew productivity and lower fuel consumption. Furthermore, the program reinforced positive public relations and community goodwill.
In 2018, Southern Company, Georgia Power's parent, set the long-term goal of low or no carbon emissions by 2050. Additionally, delivering free wood chips further establishes the company's unwavering commitment to community giving. This wood chip initiative contributes to the environmental stewardship goal and also serves as an internal beacon for innovation within various business units.