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When trees and other forms of vegetation make contact with overhead power lines, this can cause outages and flickers for you. Maintaining the area around the power lines is an important process to ensure you receive the safe, reliable service you expect and deserve.

South Carolina Tree Trimming and Powerlines FAQ

While we respect and appreciate the natural beauty of the landscape surrounding the communities in which we live and work, safety and reliability remain our top priorities.

Trees and tree limbs continue to represent the No.1 reason for power outages ACROSS OUR SYSTEM. Routine safeguarding of overhead facilities remains critical to helping ensure a safe, resilient, and reliable electric system and keep the lights on for all the customers we serve.

Trees that exceed a maximum height of approximately 15 feet are not suitable for planting along distribution rights of way or near overhead lines. Dominion Energy continues to work collaboratively with all the municipalities we serve, as well as property owners, to ensure the proper planting of the right tree in the right place to avoid utility trimming or removal as the trees mature.

Serious injury or death can occur if energized lines are touched, or if an object is touched that has come in contact with an energized line. We work proactively year-round to safeguard overhead lines from hazardous vegetation. Working collaboratively with certified arborists on staff and in our communities, Dominion Energy and established contractors follow national pruning standards outlined by the International Society of Arboriculture. Research indicates that following these standards will preserve the health and integrity of the tree over its lifetime. 

Drawing of patterns for trimming trees around power lines

The amount of trimming varies by tree and location (for example, a yard/maintained area versus a rural/unmaintained area). Trained line-clearing professionals follow ANSI - A300 Standards, which are the generally accepted industry standards for tree care practices. These professionals will consider growth rate and the tree’s relative location to power lines and equipment before pruning.

We use directional pruning in an effort to guide tree growth away from power lines. The diagram above shows a typical “V” shaped approach on the left; on the right is an “L” shaped trim. We may use other types of trimming methods as well.

Our maintenance trimming is done on cycles typically ranging from four to five years, so we trim to account for anticipated growth.

No. You should never hire a private contractor to work near power lines. Only qualified utility line clearance contractors who meet OSHA qualifications are legally permitted to work within 10 feet of power lines, or work on a tree that has branches within 10 feet of power lines. To learn more, visit OSHA.gov. Always call your electric provider before starting any work near power lines.
During scheduled maintenance, we trim only limbs that vigorously rub against the service line running to homes and businesses. We do not cut down live or dead trees on or near the service line. We will disconnect the service line at no cost to allow property owners or their contractor to safely remove such limbs or trees.
Dominion Energy is always willing to consider underground lines as long as the engineering is technically feasible, system reliability is not compromised and there is a mechanism in place to cover the additional cost.
Dominion Energy trims trees on a five-year cycle as part of routine maintenance on our circuits. Trimming on a routine cycle allows us to maintain a safe and resilient system.  Each tree is different in structure, and our pruning practices take that into consideration.

In short, it depends on the size and type of debris, and what caused it to fall.

  • Maintenance: Dominion Energy removes pruning debris and brush associated with our maintenance tree trimming and line clearing in residential areas. Larger limbs and trunks remain on the property owner’s land.
  • Hazard Trees: When we cut diseased, dead, dying, or leaning trees or limbs near power lines, we will occasionally remove smaller limbs or debris. Larger limbs and trunks remain at the property of the landowner. Ultimately, all limbs and debris are the responsibility of the property owner.
  • Storms: Tree debris resulting from storms is the responsibility of the property owner.
 

View information on vegetation plantings on Dominion Energy right-of-way.

Always remember to call 811 before you dig.

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