Cooperative earns recognition for best utility practices

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) has been named a 2023 Tree Line Utility by the Arbor Day Foundation to recognize its dedication to proper urban forest management in its service area. This is the ninth consecutive year that the Cooperative has been awarded this recognition.

Tree Line USA, a partnership between the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters, recognizes public and private utilities for pursuing best practices that protect and cultivate America’s urban tree canopy. In addition, Tree Line USA promotes delivering safe and reliable electricity while maintaining healthy community forests.

“Trees are essential to creating more urban green spaces in communities across the United States,” said Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “In addition, they provide important benefits to residents, including clean air, clean water and vital tree shade. Service providers like Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative demonstrate how easily trees and utilities can co-exist for the benefit of communities and residents.”

By joining the Tree Line USA program, service providers benefit from lowering line clearance costs due to proper pruning. As a result of those properly pruned and maintained trees, the people benefit from increased reliability of service because those trees will have healthy root systems that decay less, have less structural weakness, and ultimately result in fewer downed lines during storms.

“Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative is pleased to receive this recognition,” said John C. Lee, Jr., MEC president and CEO. “Healthy trees contribute to cleaner air and water, and the wind break and shade they provide help support wildlife, conserve energy, and reduce peak demands. We are committed to providing safe, reliable, and affordable electricity to Members, as well as being good environmental stewards. Proper care of our trees and forests today translates to a better quality of life tomorrow. I am proud that our vegetation management team continues to uphold the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Line USA standards for nine years, earning this designation year after year.”

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative achieved the Tree Line USA recognition by meeting five program standards: quality tree care, annual worker training, tree planting and public education, formal tree-based energy conservation, and sponsorship of, or participation in, Arbor Day celebration.  

Ray DeJarnette, MEC arborist and manager of vegetation services, commented, “Following best practices in public and private utility arboriculture is our mission, and we are proud to be recognized for our ongoing efforts in that endeavor.”

More information about Tree Line USA can be found at

– Report by Dolores Cabaniss, Public Relations Specialist, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative.