Pruning Trees Near Electric Lines - Trees that grow near power lines pose a serious safety risk and are one of the top causes of power outages each year, along with lightning and wildlife. Oncor may prune or remove trees that interfere with the reliability and integrity of electrical service within their service area. When this happens, our Oncor follows generally-accepted industry guidelines and best practices.
The best scenario for preventing such drastic tree trimming is for property owners to regularly prune their trees to keep them 10 feet or further away from the power lines. Individuals and arborists are not allowed within 10 feet of the main power lines. Once they get that close, your electric service provider has to be called to do the work. If individual service lines (from the main lines to your property) are close to trees, Oncor recommends calling for a temporary disconnect while the arborist is trimming.
FAQ from Oncor's website
Why does Oncor have to prune trees so drastically near power lines? Oncor follows generally-accepted industry guidelines and best practices to have minimal impact on the health of trees pruned. Oncor's standards are based on several factors: the minimum safe working distance for a utility worker, how much trees and conductors sway in high winds and the ability of limbs to break and fall on lines. Oncor can never prune enough to prevent all tree-related outages; however, a well-managed tree pruning program can drastically reduce tree outages and provide a safer environment for utility workers and the public. If the property owner does not perform maintenance on their trees and those trees cause interference with service quality, then Oncor becomes involved in the process of maintaining the tree. Oncor does not recommend that unqualified persons prune trees in proximity to the power lines and that such work be left to line clearance qualified workers.
What options do I have when it comes to having my trees pruned? If tree branches have grown into lines in an alley, street or backyard utility easement (this includes all major lines except the service lines that go over your property from the pole to the electric meter), you should call the number on your electric bill to report the situation. If the branches have grown near the service line running across your property from the pole to the meter, you should call a qualified tree trimmer or arborist to prune the tree limbs. For safety reasons, if you will be doing the pruning yourself, Oncor recommends contacting your Retail Electric Provider to request a temporary disconnect and reconnect. This allows Oncor to temporarily lower the service line to your home or business, thereby allowing you to safety trim the trees. After you complete the work, Oncor will re-install the line and reconnect the electricity. There is a nominal charge for this service.
Why can't I trim my own trees near power lines or hire my own arborist? Some people are tempted to prune their trees out of power lines. For safety reasons, Oncor asks that customers do not go within 10 feet of tree limbs in high voltage lines. Except for the low voltage service drop line running over your property from the pole to the meter, Oncor arranges for trees to be pruned around its power lines and equipment. To report a tree within 10 feet of power lines that could cause a potentially hazardous condition like sparking, customers should call the number on their electric bill to report the situation. If there is a fire or sparking occurring, call 9-1-1.