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Agriculture Information

Vegetation Management

Following is information that may be of use to landowners and agricultural customers of the state’s investor-owned utilities such as PG&E, Southern California Edison, and SDG&E.

Tree Trimming Safety Information

Question:

Why Do Electric Utility Companies Prune And Remove Trees Near High Voltage Power Lines?

 

Answer:

Public and Fire Safety

  • To prevent injury to people climbing or working in trees adjacent to power lines.
  • Tree in contact with high voltage power lines can act as an ignition source of fires.
  • To reduce electric outages because trees represent one of the largest causes of power outages in California.

It’s the LAW

State law requires utility companies to maintain specific clearances (depending on voltage running through the line) between electric power lines and all vegetation.

  • California Public Resource Code Sections
    • 4293: Power Line Clearance Required
    • 4292: Power Line Hazard Reduction
    • 4291: Reduction of Fire Hazards Around Buildings
    • 4171: Public Nuisances
  • California Code of Regulations, Title 14: Minimum Clearance Provisions, Sections 1250 - 1258 
  • General Industry Safety Orders, Title 8: Group 3: Articles 12, 13, 36, 37,38
  • California Penal Code Section 385
  • California Public Utilities Commission, General Order 95: Rule 35

 

Landowner Liability

Failure to allow a utility company to comply with the law can result in liability to the landowner for damages or injuries resulting from a vegetation hazard. Many insurance companies do not cover these types of damage if the policy owner refused to allow elimination of hazards.

Landowner Prevention

You can help prevent electric outages, fire, and public safety hazards.

  • Clearing all flammable vegetation a minimum of 30 feet around your home and other structures provides the greatest chance for survival and is also required by law. (section 4291)
  • Plant the right tree in the right place. If you must plant trees near power lines, make sure the maximum mature tree height is ten feet away from the closest power line.
  • Plant fire resistant plants.
  • Never allow children to climb trees growing near power lines.
  • Never prune trees near electric lines. Call your local electric utility company first to inspect the trees. In many instances, the utility may perform the tree work at no cost to the homeowner.
  • Inspect the trees on your property annually for hazards. For expert advice on tree health or hazards, consult an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist.

Additional Contact Information

The information here covers the general rules and regulations that affect all landowners. You can make a difference by acting on this information. If you are interested in knowing more, call the CPUC, CDF, or your local utility.  We're here to help!

Time-of-Use Rates Information

For information on the transition of small and medium businesses to Time-of-Use Rates, please visit the following pages for your utility:

PG&E

Southern California Edison

SDG&E

Bear Valley Electric

  

Last Modified: 3/27/2013


 
 
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