If a tree limb (or the entire tree) falls onto a power line, you could face a power outage or a safety hazard. So when you notice a tree in your yard that seems a bit too close to the lines for comfort, you might wonder, “who is responsible for trimming trees near power lines”? More importantly, is it safe?
Performing any sort of work near power lines can pose a potential hazard. This is true of both overhead lines through your neighborhood and the service line that runs from the pole to your house. However, the ways in which electric service providers deal with trees near these lines can vary depending on the location.
If a tree or its limbs are encroaching upon the overhead lines running through your neighborhood, you should never attempt to remove the tree or trim the limbs. The California Occupational Health and Safety Administration (Cal/OSHA) requires specific training and certification of anyone working within a certain distance of these power lines. Only the electric company’s qualified contractors can work within these locations. Attempting to perform tree trimming work within these strict boundaries can result in legal liability.
As for trees encroaching upon the service line to your own home, the rules are a bit different. These lines are of lower voltage and are insulated, so they pose less of a risk to the public than the main overhead lines. They are not subject to the same Cal/OSHA regulations. However, pruning trees near these lines could still result in an accident that causes a power outage (to your home) and the work can still be dangerous (although to a lesser degree).
If you’re concerned about a tree that is growing too closely to a power line, addressing this situation now can prevent power outages and dangerous situations in the event of storm damage. But you should definitely consult with your electric service provider and/or a qualified tree trimming service before deciding how to proceed. Give us a call and we can advise you on the regulations regarding your situation, and help you remove the tree or trim its limbs when allowed and necessary.