Vegetation Maintenance


Tri-County Electric schedules routine ongoing vegetation management, which can include tree trimming, once every 3 to 5 years to maintain clearance to the lines, poles and substations.

This plan is consistent with the National Electric Safety Code (NESC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations that require electric utilities to clear vegetation from power lines for the safety of the Tri-County Electric employees and property owners.

Protecting Lines Helps Secure Your Electric Service

Vegetation management at Tri-County Electric is a vital part of protecting the safety and delivery of electric service to each of our members. This maintenance program is an effort to assure that you have electricity despite storms and falling limbs. It is the only goal of vegetation control.

It is always sad to have to trim the beautiful expanse of otherwise healthy trees, but there are dangers to the lines, supporting poles and substations when trees and brush encroach.

Tri-County Electric will attempt to contact property owners using the information available to our offices to inform you that right of way maintenance is forthcoming. Right of Way maintenance includes pruning and/or tree and bush removal.

Tree pruning is designed to remove the tree from proximity of the lines while also making an effort to protect the health of the tree. Most often, the will result in pruning or trimming limbs and branches growing in the direction of the lines.

Vegetation and Trees Present Risk

Beyond the possibility of downed lines, there are risks that limbs and other vegetation that may be touching power lines can become electrical conductors carrying voltage to the ground which could, under the right conditions, endanger people and animals.

Fully 8 – 10% of all the electrical power outages are caused by trees and other vegetation contacting the lines. Everyone knows the frustration of losing power, but there is also a cost to having crews standing ready to restore it. And while there will always be a need for rapid response to restore power, it is more cost effective to implement a plan to control the vegetation.

Our vegetation management crews try hard to balance the need to trim back the things that endanger your service with the desire to keep the landscape vibrant.

Unmanaged vegetation causes many outages, but we believe that trees and power lines can coexist.

Below are the guidelines that Tri-County Electric uses to manage the clearances between power lines and vegetation:

Areas Not Maintained by Homeowner or Business

The minimum clearances between vegetation and power lines:

  • Fifteen (15) feet of clearance on each side of distribution lines
  • Fifty feet on each side of transmission lines
  • Ten (10) feet clearance around open secondary service lines
  • Six (6) feet of clearance around insulated secondary lines

Areas Maintained by the Homeowner or Business

The minimum clearances between vegetation and power lines:

  • 15 feet horizontal clearance and 10 feet of vertical clearance from energized.
  • Any tree or tree limb in that “hazard zone” will be subject to removal, although Tri-County Electric tree crews will take into consideration the tree species, hardiness and speed of growth.
  • Dogwood trees are the only approved tree to be planted in electric lines right-of-way  in manicured yards.
  • To maintain optimal line accessibility, no woody-stemmed plants may be planted within 20 feet of utility poles. While Tri-County Electric will make every effort to avoid trees and shrubs, landscaping within 20 feet of the pole may be damaged during typical maintenance and will not be replaced by Tri-County Electric.

Underground Services

  • 6 feet of separation is required between all customer shrubs, trees and fences and Tri-County Electric pad-mount transformers. Nothing is allowed in front of the transformer (side with doors) within 10 feet.
  • 2 feet of clearance around meter bases.
Vegetation Management

Vegetation Management

    Tri-County Electric's Vegetation Management policy balances the beauty of landscaping and tree planting in neighborhoods with the need to keep power lines clear of vegetation to keep the power source secure. The Vegetation Management policy is designed to keep...

Right of Way Policy

Right of Way Policy

Everyone should learn more about the Right of Way Policy at Tri- County Electric Membership Corporation. Prior to maintaining the right-of-way, Tri-County Electric will attempt to contact the property owner using information available to Tri-County Electric....

Landscaping with Utility Friendly Trees

Landscaping with Utility Friendly Trees

Landscaping with utility friendly trees will help keep vegetation away form power lines. In an effort to keep trees away from power lines, planting trees within 30 feet of the Right of Way of your property is prohibited. Trees found within the 30' set back will be...