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In order to serve you better, please select your Dominion Energy location services.

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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.

Virginia/North Carolina Tree Trimming and Powerlines FAQ

Our regulators recognize the importance of Dominion Energy properly maintaining vegetation around its power lines and require that such maintenance be performed. Vegetation, including trees, brush and vines, can threaten your safety and the safety of Dominion Energy crews if they grow too close to power lines. Vegetation also causes power outages and limits Dominion Energy's access to its lines to make necessary repairs.

Dominion Energy regularly maintains vegetation along its power lines for safety and service reliability. Serious injury or death can occur if energized lines are touched or if an object is touched that is in contact with a line.

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.
  • Safety: In Virginia, when a property owner requests assistance with trees/limbs that are within 10 feet of our power lines, and we remove or prepare a tree for removal in accordance to the VA Overhead High Voltage Line Safety Act, the debris remains the responsibility of the property owner.

Dominion Energy employs trained professionals and contractors who must be OSHA certified to trim trees around power lines. Untrained individuals should not attempt to trim trees near power lines for risk of serious or fatal injury. Approaching power lines is not only deadly, it's against the law.

When in doubt, give us a call: For your safety, never attempt to trim any plants or trees that are touching or growing near power lines.

  • Virginia & North Carolina: 866-366-4357, and also refer to our Tree Trimming Brochure 
    South Carolina: 800-251-7234
  • Doing work near power lines: If you or a contractor are doing work at your home and need to get near lines, and you are in Virginia, the High Voltage Safety Act requires you to contact Dominion Energy.

Trees on lines: If a tree or limb is touching a power line, call us so we can evaluate whether it should be removed. If a limb has fallen onto a line, call us to remove it. For safety, do not attempt to remove any trees or tree limbs from power lines yourself. For more information, please view this video: What can a 7,200-volt power line do?

Important Safety Note: Always assume downed lines and any nearby objects are energized and dangerous. If you see fallen lines on your property or in roadways, stay away and contact us immediately.

We will notify you by letter or a message on your bill approximately 30 days before the line clearing begins. When our contract crews enter your property, they will provide a courtesy knock on your door and then proceed with their work.
Line clearing is necessary to ensure you and your neighbors have a safe, reliable and economic source of electricity. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
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.

Several factors can affect how a tree should be pruned. Power line voltage, tree species and tree location must all be considered. Please contact us if you have questions about tree trimming at a specific site.
Dead trees present a significant threat to our power lines. That's why it's necessary to remove the portion of the tree that may hit the line, which can sometimes mean taking the entire tree down. 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 on the property owner’s land. Ultimately, all limbs/debris are the responsibility of the property owner.
Our chief concern following large storm events is to restore everyone's power as quickly and safely as possible. Trees and limbs that must be cut or that fall during a storm remain the responsibility of the tree owner.
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.
A minimum of 20 feet is trimmed above the primary distribution power line, while a minimum of 15 feet is trimmed to the side of distribution wires. Unmaintained and or tall growing vegetation will be removed from the right-of-way.

These distances provide the necessary clearance to safely operate the lines and reduce the chance of rain, wind or ice pushing or breaking limbs into the lines.

ANSI A300 Standards trimming only removes limbs growing toward the lines or other service equipment. We do not remove limbs that are growing away from the wire in order to give the tree a particular shape.

Shaping or “rounding over” of trees can actually be very unhealthy for the tree by leaving stubs that can result in decay.

Nearly all of our neighborhood power lines are cleared on a four year cycle. Unusual circumstances, such as storms or excessive growth, may necessitate additional clearing.
The emerald ash borer is posing an increasing threat to trees near Dominion Energy power lines. This invasive insect was first discovered in the United States in 2002 and is responsible for the rapid decline and death of the ash tree species in 35 states, including Virginia.

Dead or dying ash trees must be cut down because damaged trees and limbs can fall on electric poles or equipment and cause potentially hazardous situations and electrical service interruptions. As part of a mitigation plan approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission, Dominion Energy personnel and our contractors are safely cutting down ash trees capable of impacting distribution lines along distribution rights-of-way. Any debris resulting from the partial or full take down of a dead tree is the property owner's responsibility.

Adult beetles are bright metallic green; have a bright red, bronze or golden abdomen; and are approximately a 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide. The back of an adult beetle is flat, their underside is rounded, and they have a small spine at the tip of the abdomen and antennae.

As larvae, they feed under the bark and wind back and forth, creating galleries that are packed with sawdust and follow a serpentine pattern. Loss of leaves, thinning, and discoloration of ash tree leaves are also signs of active borer damage.

Learn more about Ash trees and the Emerald Ash Borer:
Virginia Cooperative Extension - Emerald Ash Borer: Options for Landowners
Virginia Department of Forestry - Ash Tree Management

The Company and our contractors carefully spot-treat woody-stemmed growth using low volume applications of EPA approved, non-restricted use herbicides. The Company sprays only the undesirable plant species (as opposed to broadcast applications). "Low volume" application means the Company uses only the volume of herbicide necessary to remove the selected plant species. The Company uses licensed contractors to perform this work that are either certified applicators or registered technicians in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

View a list of suggested species to consider when planning the landscape.

Always remember to call 811 before you dig.

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