Safety and Reliability
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Tree Trimming and Power Lines
Doing some landscaping?
If you plan to clear your yard or land of trees for any reason, there are some things you need to be aware of — power lines. Cutting down trees is serious business. Contrary to popular belief, trees can be a great conductor of electricity so here are a few tips on how to stay safe.
Be Aware of Power Lines
- Look overhead and to all sides surrounding the cutting site. Make sure the tree or limbs or your equipment won't come in contact with any power lines when it falls.
- Use extreme caution when cutting in windy conditions.
- If a tree or limb does fall across a line, do not try to remove it, even if you think the line is not energized.
- Avoid planting trees under power lines. Trees can grow into the lines, creating a safety hazard not only for our maintenance crews but also for the children who climb them. or play near them. Limbs entangled in power lines are a frequent cause of power outages. That affects you AND your neighbors.
- Remove weak or hazardous trees and call us first about pruning trees near power lines.
- Be sure the trunk and branches will not reach within 10 feet of overhead electric lines when fully grown.
- Trees or shrubs that grow too close to poles may be trimmed or damaged by utility workers who need access to the poles.
Around Ground Equipment
- Although it’s tempting to landscape next to ground-mounted utility equipment, please avoid doing so. During an outage, we’ll probably need access to your equipment.
- Keep shrubs and structures at least 12 feet from the “door” of the pad-mount transformer and at least 3 feet from other sides.
- If landscaping is placed too close to the transformer, service restoration efforts can be delayed, and not enough air circulation can cause equipment failure. In addition, workers must sometimes cut down the plantings to perform the restoration work.
- Don’t forget the meter – although your meter is automatically read every month, we still sometimes need access to check it. So, keep shrubs trimmed to allow visibility to your meter, and please do not fence in your meter.
Before you dig, call 811 to locate buried utility lines.
Low Tree Zone:
Avoid planting within 20 feet of power lines. If planting is unavoidable, only plant shrubs and small trees that reach a mature height of 15 feet or less. Keep shrubs at least 10 feet away from transformer doors and 4 feet away from the sides.
Medium Tree Zone:
Plant medium trees (under 40 feet when mature) at least 25 feet away from power lines.
Large Tree Zone:
Plant large trees (over 40 feet when mature) at least 50 feet away from power lines.