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Old 09-10-2008, 12:16 PM   #1
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Tree Trimming - Distance From Power Lines


Anyone here know how far you should keep branches away from your power line.
I am trimming my trees, and trying to figure out how many branches are going to have to go to make it safe around the power line.

Jamie

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Old 09-10-2008, 05:24 PM   #2
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Tree Trimming - Distance From Power Lines


I have found in the past that the power company will usually do this if it is that close to the power line. If you just want to trim some trees that are nearby, that's another story. I think they told me 10 feet the last time I asked. I had a dead pine that beetles had gotten into. I told them that I didn't think that it would hit the lines coming down but wanted to see if they might be able to at least top it for me. No, if the trunk is more than ten feet from the line, tough. FYI- I also told them that I KNEW that it would not hit my house.

Short war story:
I wanted to cut a couple pines down at the front lower part of my yard. Power lines are on my side of the road. Not that I planned it this way but at the time I had a wood burning heater. My plan was to kill the trees first- about this time of year- then cut them down in about a month or two. That way, they would begin to dry out, and wouldn't be so heavy when I start cutting them up. So I took my saw and cut a ring around the bark about ground level. Just enough to stop the sap. Sure enough, in a few weeks they turned brown. One day I came home for lunch and just as I sat down to eat, a knock on the door. EMC guy says, "We've got to do something about those trees that have died." I told him, "Tell you what, if you will just cut them down in pieces, I'll haul them off."

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Old 09-13-2008, 11:18 PM   #3
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Tree Trimming - Distance From Power Lines


Actually *people* (who don't work for the electric company) need to stay at least 10 ft. away from power lines while trimming trees. The distance depends on the voltage in the wires on the lines. For very high voltage lines, the required distance is 35 ft. away! (That is for electric lines on those very high towers).

Tree branches which might fall and accidentally hit a power line could also electrocute you. So if the branch looks like it might fall and touch an electric line, call the electric company.

Or if you will need to get closer than 10 ft. to an electric line, call your electric company.

As far as I know, the electric company will trim these trees for free.

BTW a person trained to trim trees near electric lines is called a "Line Clearance Arborist".
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Old 09-14-2008, 01:48 AM   #4
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Tree Trimming - Distance From Power Lines


The rules and regs most likely will vary by state or even county.

Over here, if it's the lines running from th pole to your house, it is your responsibility and expense. The electric company here will however, come out and disconnect the power to the line so you can do the trimming. They do not charge for this service. I called them and they told me that it was safe to trim around them and the lines running to my house were insulated well enough that I could grab onto them without risk. I told them they were nucking futs if that's the advice they were giving to people. What if the branch wore through some insulation? I scheduled an appointment for them to come disconnect, and they ended up doing the trimming for me. The ground man (supervisor) even helped me load my trailer to haul the debris off. No charge, and they adamantly refused any money I tried to offer as a tip. I made it a point to call their office and let the brass know what an outstanding crew they had there.

Anyway, best thing to do is call you local power company and see what services and/or advice they have to offer.
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Old 09-14-2008, 08:22 AM   #5
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Tree Trimming - Distance From Power Lines


That person at the electric company was not giving very good advice! (About being able to grab the line.) I've seen very old service drops where the insulation has fallen off.

It is a good idea to assume that all overhead lines including phone and cable TV are carrying deadly voltage and to stay away from them.

To assume that all down power lines (due to storm or whatever) including phone and cable TV are carrying deadly voltage.

And to assume that down power lines which have had the power shut off may be carrying deadly voltage anyway! This is because a homeowner may have incorrectly connected a home generator and it is backfeeding to the utility lines!
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Old 09-14-2008, 08:29 AM   #6
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Tree Trimming - Distance From Power Lines


I checked with my Power Co on what they do if you call them to trip, and they basically say they cut away the entire section of a tree all the way down to the trunk to make sure it does not regrow and force them to trim again. That sounds like it would look horrible.

I have been trimming somewhat is the area of the line, using a fiberglass pole and IAA Special duty rated ladders that are OSHA approved for use around power lines.

Jamie
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Old 09-14-2008, 10:27 AM   #7
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Tree Trimming - Distance From Power Lines


Kap,
Sounds like you got lucky with the crew that came out. Usually that's the way it is, just depends on who you happen to deal with.
Quote:
they told me that it was safe to trim around them and the lines running to my house were insulated well enough that I could grab onto them without risk.
That's after they disconnect the service!

Reminds me of one time I thanked a guy for doing a good job. He said he appreciated it but, "tell my boss!"

Oh well, enough of this verbosity.

Jamie, thanks for letting us know how you came out.
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Old 09-14-2008, 03:19 PM   #8
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Tree Trimming - Distance From Power Lines


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Originally Posted by downunder View Post
Kap,
Sounds like you got lucky with the crew that came out. Usually that's the way it is, just depends on who you happen to deal with.
They're pretty cool here. But at a buck+ per kwh, they should be.

Quote:
That's after they disconnect the service!
No. That was WITH the lines energized. Seriously. And they DID advise not hitting the line with the saw or let limbs drop onto them.

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Reminds me of one time I thanked a guy for doing a good job. He said he appreciated it but, "tell my boss!"
That's what I tell my clients. "Don't tell me I did a good job. Tell your friends." And sometimes I like to add "I already know I did a good job".
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Old 09-14-2008, 03:22 PM   #9
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Tree Trimming - Distance From Power Lines


Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
It is a good idea to assume that all overhead lines including phone and cable TV are carrying deadly voltage and to stay away from them.

To assume that all down power lines (due to storm or whatever) including phone and cable TV are carrying deadly voltage.
The absolute best advice!

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