We perform annual inspections along distribution and transmission power lines to identify trees and vegetation that require pruning or removal. As part of this work, we use several different approaches to manage trees and other vegetation growing along power lines. Our various programs:
Usually located at the top of wood poles above the pole-mounted transformer, distribution lines deliver power into local neighborhoods. We maintain a minimum clearance of 18 inches around these power lines in non-high fire-threat areas. In areas designated as high fire-threat by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), a minimum 4-foot clearance is required with recommended minimum clearances of 12 feet at the time of pruning to maintain clearance year round.
Our work near distribution lines includes:
After a storm, our crews help restore electric service by removing trees and branches that caused power outages or that pose an immediate safety risk or hazard. We typically leave a door hanger to notify you of this work, which addresses trees that are uprooting or leaning toward power lines, trees that have previously come into contact with power lines, and trees that are located near power lines and have blown over due to strong winds. The property owner is responsible for cleaning up any additional debris, and other utilities such as phone and cable providers are responsible for restoring their service. If you see any potential tree-related issues, please contact us at 1-800-743-5000.
Customers are responsible for maintaining the service wire that runs from PG&E’s electric pole to your home, and PG&E will not prune trees or vegetation along that line. You can request a free temporary service disconnect so you or a contractor can safely work around the service wire.
Usually located on large metal towers up to 180 feet tall and sometimes on wood poles, transmission lines transport high-voltage electricity and typically serve entire cities and towns. We maintain year-round tree clearances around transmission lines to reduce the likelihood of power outages across large areas. Only low-growing shrubs are permitted underneath and between the wires on the power line, and trees along the border of the strip of land on either side of the transmission line must be no taller than 10 feet at maturity.
Our work near transmission lines includes:
We remove incompatible or hazardous trees and non-native plants underneath our high voltage power lines utilizing what is called wire-zone-border-zone management within the transmission corridor. This work creates the opportunity for the growth of compatible plants underneath power lines and reduces invasive weeds to help support a healthy and natural environment. Our IVM program also helps reduce the spread of wildfire by creating fire safety fuel breaks and:
Through our Pole Clearing and Vegetation Control program, we remove all flammable material, brush, limbs and foliage around most electric power poles and towers in areas where CAL FIRE serves as the primary response agency for fire suppression and prevention. This work includes removal of:
Our inspectors will notify residents of the work in person or leave a door hanger.
We take steps to restore power in wildfire areas, clear vegetation and perform emergency tree removal work. This tree work is performed in a timely manner in close coordination with local, state and federal fire and emergency agencies and begins as soon as it is safe to enter the wildfire-affected area. We patrol and typically mark the trunks of any wildfire-damaged trees that require work or removal in fluorescent green paint or tape. Removing hazardous trees is critical to restoring power quickly, ensuring public safety, and meeting state and federal requirements. In some areas, customers may qualify for free wood removal.
Wood debris from wildfire tree work is treated the same as wood debris from tree work near distribution and transmission lines. Should a specialized wood management program be implemented, customers will be notified directly.
To help ensure public safety and address the ongoing effects of the bark beetle infestation and drought, we continue to inspect and remove dead, diseased, defective and dying trees to prevent them from falling into power lines and equipment and potentially causing wildfires and power outages. Our drought and tree mortality response includes increased vegetation inspections, removal of dead and dying trees, and wood management to qualifying properties.