FLORENCE ELECTRICITY DEPARTMENT (FED) TREE TRIMMING POLICY
(Revised January, 2016)

General 

There are approximately 2500 miles of overhead power lines in the FED service area. FED utilizes a four (4) year trimming cycle to clear growth under and/or near power lines. Approximately 625 miles of the system is trimmed each year.  Power lines are installed on road rights-of-way or in dedicated utility easements granted by land owners. In the case of easements, the land owner retains ownership of the property and is responsible for maintaining the property.  Utility easements provide for the FED to install electrical facilities anywhere within the easement and to cut or trim all trees and undergrowth close enough to endanger the reliability of said facilities (typically 15' to 25' depending on voltage). The easement also prohibits the property owner from placing any structure in the easement that would conflict with the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC). All effort will be made to notify property owners in advance of any trimming performed on their property, and they will have the opportunity to discuss all trimming options. The final decision to trim or remove trees or undergrowth located within the utility easement necessary for service reliability will be made by the FED.

 Trees Targeted for Removal by FED

Trees that require extensive pruning, or trees whose limbs will grow back and contact high voltage lines before the routine maintenance schedule is complete, will be "targeted" for removal.  If customer is reluctant to allow tree removal, FED may offer incentives such as stump removal or planting of replacement trees in exchange for permission to remove targeted trees.  The decision to offer incentives will be at the sole discretion of FED and will be evaluated based on cost savings gained by tree removal versus maintenance trimming.  Stump grinding or any tree replacements will apply only if FED initiates the removal request.

Customer initiated requests for removal of trees which are located outside the utility easement, or which only require minor pruning during routine maintenance, will not be removed unless FED concludes that the tree will fall soon and is likely to cause damage to FED facilities when it does fall.  FED may negotiate with a customer to remove a non-dangerous tree in exchange for permission for the FED to remove a tree targeted for removal. If FED agrees to a customer request to cut down a tree not endangering FED equipment, customer will be required to sign a form stating that the customer understands that they will be responsible for cleaning up all debris.

Trees near Service Lines

Service lines are the insulated 120/240 volt wires between the customer's weatherhead and pole with the service transformer. Trees will not normally be removed or trimmed for service lines unless the tree or its limbs are already laying on the service or if its failure is imminent and will impact FED's equipment. Examples would be split or broken trees and lodged trees or limbs.  Dead limbs hanging over a service line or live healthy limbs will not be cut back unless they are putting pressure on the line. Customers wishing to trim or cut trees near service lines should contact FED (256-760-6530) to disconnect the service line for the customer or contractor to remove trees or tree limbs safely, and FED will reconnect the line when the work is completed.  There is no charge for this service if the customer schedules the work 24 hours in advance and if the work is done during FED service personnel's normal work hours (7:00 am to 3:30 pm).

Clean Up Policy

  • Debris resulting from routine maintenance by FED will be removed.
     

  • Debris resulting from negotiations with a customer to cut dead trees located outside the easement (15' to 25' depending on voltage) will not be removed if there is only minimal chance of the tree contacting FED's power line if it falls.  Trees cut in such instances will be left on site whether cut during routine maintenance or if used as negotiations for removals.    (Tree must be located outside of the 10' required to safely remove a tree by a customer or contractor that is not certified to cut trees in an electrical zone.)
     

  • Debris resulting from any tree cutting or trimming necessary to repair damaged lines during wind or ice storms, tornados, or other weather related events will not be removed.


The Pruning Process

We have become a society devoted to our trees. Trees provide shade, beauty, help reduce noise, and can even increase property values. We are also a society that demands continuous electrical service. Our zeal for both trees and electricity often places the two in conflict because trees growing too close to overhead electric wires may threaten your safety and cause power outages. Tree pruning is one of the most highly visible and widely criticized activities of electric utility companies, but is also vitally necessary.

Florence Utilities, like most utility companies, uses pruning techniques that meet American National Standards. These techniques utilize, "natural, lateral, or directional" pruning methods that minimize the impact on tree health, structure, and appearance. These improved pruning methods also speed wound closure, reduce sprout growth, and ultimately direct future limb growth away from the wires. Trees stay healthier and live longer.


 

Joe McPhail
Line Clearance Supervisor

ISA Certification IL-1177AU

TRAQ Qualified

AL Pesticide Applicator #10555

 

Below is the pruning style that we utilize:

Click on the image below or here for a larger version of the pruning graphic.

To truly eliminate the conflict between trees and overhead electric wires, we must select and plant only trees whose mature height and spread will not interfere with nearby utility lines. Consult your local nursery, utility forester, or garden center for assistance in choosing trees to plant under electric wires.


Additional links:

Utility Arborist Association: (http://www.utilityarborist.org)

Trees Are Good: (http://www.treesaregood.org)

International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) (http://www.isa-arbor.com)