View frequently asked questions (FAQ) about pole clearing
Get in-depth information about how we manage vegetation
We clear electric poles in areas of high-fire danger. Find out more about the pole clearing work and when it’s performed.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the vegetation control work performed?
Vegetation control crews typically arrive after an inspector surveys the area. In some cases, the clearing work will be performed at the time of inspection, if permission to use herbicide is obtained from the customer. The inspector will either talk to the resident(s) in person or leave a door-hanger notice.
Which utility poles or transmission structures are you clearing for vegetation?
We primarily clear poles and transmission structures in State Responsibility Area to ensure compliance with Public Resource Code (PRC) 4292 during fire season. We also clear some poles in other designated wildland areas. The vegetation must be maintained around structures and poles subjected to PRC 4292 clearing requirements by creating a firebreak.
How often are areas patrolled for vegetation control work?
The Vegetation Management Department patrols every mile of electrical lines in the State Responsibility Areas. The inspection occurs every year for poles and transmission towers that support non-exempt equipment. These locations require creating a firebreak at the base of the poles and structures during fire season. The firebreak complies with Public Resource Code 4292. Some of our other departments may also patrol areas for needed maintenance work.
How does PG&E decide how much vegetation to remove to create a firebreak?
Public Resource Code 4292 determines the amount of vegetation that is removed. We create firebreaks using the following criteria:
- Radial clearance (ground level): Remove all flammable material within a 10-foot radius of the pole.
- Vertical clearance (0-8 feet): Remove all brush, limbs and foliage of living trees.
- High-voltage lines clearance (8 feet and above): Remove all dead, diseased and dying limbs and foliage.
Does vegetation-control work spread disease?
There is no evidence that clearing vegetation spreads disease. We have many written Best Management Practices that our employees and contractors are required to follow to ensure compliance with all Federal and State Environmental regulations.
How can I prepare for vegetation control crew activity?
Use the following guidelines to prepare for pole-clearing work:
- Remove vehicles and other personal property from the pole-clearing area.
- Unlock your gate when you know vegetation crews are in the area.
- Ensure that animals are leashed or secured.
- Do not place flammable materials , such as lawn clippings or brush into pole clearing area.
How else can I help?
Cooperate with the inspectors and vegetation control crews. The teams can answer most of your questions. The vegetation control crews require free and clear access to the base of poles or transmission structures to create firebreaks. The teams also appreciate having animals restrained, so that they can work without interruption.
Must I give permission for vegetation control work?
Our inspection staff identifies vegetation control work that must be done on your property. The staff then notifies you. Your permission is not required because state law mandates that we maintain a firebreak around subject poles and transmission structures. We must keep the structures safe and hazard-free. We do require your permission to apply herbicide to maintain vegetation around the subject poles and structures.
Is it considered trespassing if you come onto my property?
Utility companies are legally required to maintain their facilities. Utility easements and rights of way are often conveyed in property deeds. As a condition of electric service to your home, you must allow us 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 additional questions, call 1-800-743-5000.