Why, how and when SECO trims trees in, or near power lines
Why we trim the trees
- Trees that are too close to power lines can interfere with electric service, especially when weather brings lightning or high winds. For reliability and compliance with the National Electric Safety Code, we prune or remove trees that threaten electric service.
- Pruning helps prevent power outages. Since trees are a leading cause of electric outages, one of the best ways to reduce interruptions for customers is to maintain adequate clearance between trees and power lines by pruning on a regular basis. Pruning helps to ensure that your power stays on during gusty winds and thunderstorms.
- Well-maintained rights of way allow easier access for personnel and vehicles during storm restoration. By maintaining this access to our facilities, we can get all customers' power restored more efficiently and safely.
- Trees that are properly pruned to International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) standards are much more likely to maintain a healthy structure and appearance. SECO specifications call for our contractors to trim to these standards as well as guidelines developed by Dr. Alex Shigo, a leading authority in the field of tree health and preservation.
- SECO is committed to maintaining our facilities in a manner that helps promote the safety of employees, the community, and our members. For this reason, SECO does not encourage customers or untrained contractors to prune trees near power lines. SECO utilizes only qualified line-clearance contractors who have been specially trained to work safely around our facilities. For your safety and the safety of others, please contact SECO before working near or trimming any branches in the vicinity of power lines.
- If you are planning to remove or trim a tree near our power lines or if a tree leans excessively toward our lines, please see the Tree Trimming section of our web site.
Other reasons why we trim
- Proper utility pruning reduces hazards resulting from falling trees and limbs, which can cause wires to break or sag to the ground and present a danger to motorists and pedestrians.
- Overgrown trees or limbs near power lines pose a danger to unsuspecting children who could come in contact with a live line while climbing a tree.
- Directional pruning allows us to train the tree to grow away from power lines by removing only the branches that come in contact with the wires. By selectively trimming the tree's branches, we can retain much of the tree's natural crown.
How we trim
SECO’s tree trimming contractor follows guidelines set forth by the International Society of Arboriculture and the Tree Care Industry Association. All crews are professionally trained to recognize hazardous situations and use proper pruning techniques to correct those situations. They use directional pruning, which removes entire branches and limbs to the main tree trunk or large lateral branch. This technique directs future growth away from power lines, reduces re-growth and protects the tree from decay while preserving as much beauty as possible. We avoid tree topping because topped trees can quickly regain their original height and the large number of fast-growing sprouts are susceptible to breakage and storm damage.
- Primary Lines: Trimming requirements vary according to facility type, tree species and line proximity. Branches can extend above or below but not too close to wires. The goal is to prune branches and remove trees in situations where adequate clearance will not be maintained until we are in your neighborhood again and it threatens reliability.
- Service and Secondary Lines: These wires are more resistant to tree contact, and the homeowner is responsible for trimming trees to prevent them from growing into service lines. However, we will trim branches that prevent the service wire from hanging freely to prevent tree damage. Before you or your contractor trim or remove trees close to service lines (pole-to-home wires), contact SECO to ask us to turn off the power. We turn off electricity temporarily and restore it when your work is complete -- at no cost to you.
- Cable or Telephone Lines: We do not trim trees for these facilities. Contact your telephone or cable company if you are concerned about tree contact.
When we trim
Trimming cycles are highly dependent on tree growth rate and type of electric facilities in the area. We trim our system on an approximate three-year cycle and also perform “hot-spot” trimming as required.
When we schedule trimming in your area that includes trees on your property, an ACRT contract forester will contact you personally, in-person, on the phone or by leaving a door hanger before trimming and removing trees and limbs too close to our power lines.
- You do not incur any charges for required tree trimming work.
- Crews only perform work needed to maintain reliable electric service.
- Work is done efficiently to minimize disruption.
Page last updated: October 30, 2012