Pole Clearing Frequently Asked Questions

When will the vegetation control work be performed?

Vegetation crews usually arrive after the inspector has patrolled an area. Area residents are notified of the vegetation control work when the inspector either talks to them in person or leaves a “Door Hanger” notice. Sometimes, scheduling conflicts, weather conditions, or other interruptions occur that may alter the schedule. For a better time estimate, call the contact person listed on the door hanger.

How often are areas patrolled for vegetation control work?

The Vegetation Management Department patrols every mile of every line every year in the State Responsibility Areas for subject poles and transmission towers that support non-exempt equipment. These locations require that a firebreak be created at the base of these poles/structures during fire season to comply with Public Resource Code 4292. Other departments within Pacific Gas and Electric Company may also patrol areas for other necessary maintenance work.

How can I be less affected by vegetation control crew activity?

Make sure that vehicles and other personal property are removed from the area where subject poles and transmission towers are being cleared of vegetation. Also:

  • Unlock your gate when you know vegetation control crews are in the area.
  • Make sure animals are leashed or secured.

Which utility poles/transmission structures are you clearing for vegetation?

Subject poles and transmission structures in State Responsibility Areas that have non-exempt equipment on them require that vegetation be maintained around them by creating a firebreak in accordance with Public Resource Code 4292 during fires season.

Subject poles and transmission structures will be assigned a unique number. Numbers will be displayed on aluminum tags with a unique pole number (see figure below).

How can I help?

Be cooperative with the inspectors and vegetation control crews. They will try to answer your questions the best they can. When a vegetation control crew arrives, they need free and clear access to the base of the subject pole/transmission structure to create a firebreak. They also appreciate having animals restrained, so that they can work without interruption.

Does vegetation control work spread disease?

There is no evidence that clearing vegetation spreads disease. Pacific Gas & Electric Company requires contractors to disinfect their tools between locations, as appropriate or as recommended by state and local agencies.

Do I have to give permission to have the vegetation control work performed?

When our inspection staff identifies that vegetation control work needs to be done on your property, you will be notified. Your permission is not required, because state law mandates that we maintain a firebreak around subject poles and transmission structures, and keep them safe and hazard-free. If herbicide is applied to maintain the vegetation around these subject poles and structures, your permission to use them will be obtained.

Aren’t you trespassing if you come onto my property?

The utility is legally required to maintain its facilities. Utility franchise, easements and rights of way are often conveyed in the deed to a property. In addition, as a condition of electric service to your home, you must allow Pacific Gas & Electric Company to have access to your property for maintenance at all reasonable times. Therefore, we have the right to access our facilities, as necessary, to properly maintain our facilities. If you have questions, call 1-(800) PGE-5000.

How do you decide how much vegetation to remove to create a firebreak?

The amount of vegetation that is removed is determined by the Public Resource Code 4292. A firebreak is created by adhering to the following criteria:

  • Radial Clearance (Ground Level): Remove all flammable material to 10 foot radius around pole.
  • Vertical Clearance (0-8 feet): Remove all brush, limbs and foliage of living trees.
  • 8 feet to the High Voltage Lines: Remove all dead, diseased and dying limbs and foliage.