Pruning trees and vegetation around the utility power line that connects a person's home to the power grid pole is generally considered the homeowner's responsibility. Power companies are responsible for pruning trees that are in contact with power lines. The National Electrical Safety Code requires them to do so. PG%26E says it reviews all of its distribution lines every year.
But if you see any problems at any point, call PG%26E. The company says it will send someone to check its power lines. If there are any problems, PG%26E says crews will remove or prune the trees at no cost to you. Trees that grow too close to power lines require special removal procedures.
Our tree experts are specially trained to protect both people and power lines. We can and sometimes do remove trees and vegetation that could come into contact with our power lines. If you think the trees surrounding utility lines need to be removed or pruned, we recommend that you contact the appropriate utility company: NYSEG, the cable company, or the telephone company. Do not try to do this work yourself.
In Massachusetts, removing or pruning trees within 10 feet of main power lines is illegal, unless you are an OSHA certified line cleaner. If you want to prune or prune any tree or vegetation that grows near power lines, you (or your tree maintenance company) should seek help from Dominion to remove or prune trees that are close to your lines. Trees can come into contact with power lines when their weight increases too much or in cases of strong wind and rain. Depending on where the lines in the top of the tree are, they may also need to be disconnected from the pole or panel of the house.
If you're in that situation, you might be tempted to try to cut down the tree or even cut down some branches yourself. With a little knowledge about how to work around tree branches that are in contact or near power lines, accidents wouldn't have occurred. Power lines don't even have to physically touch the tree to be dangerous, an overvoltage can cause an arc from the transmission line. The worst thing is that you can never really tell if a tree has become electrified or not just by looking at it.
But if branches come into contact with lines or if electricity comes from a power line, the tree can catch fire. In most cities, however, they have an inspector who goes around and notifies residents that their trees are close to power lines and must be pruned. Learn more below and learn how to protect trees by visiting the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website. But don't think that working on trees or shrubs near your home's service line is safer than working near secondary high-voltage distribution lines on the streetside pole.