Understand the dangers of working near high-voltage power lines

It’s important to be aware of your surroundings when working near power lines both below and above the ground – whether you’re digging to plant a tree or garden or build a fence, or working above to prune trees, clean rain gutters or hang lights during the holidays.


Mind the lines above

Coming into contact with a power line can cause serious injuries, or even death. That’s why you should always stay at least 10 feet away from power lines and follow these safety tips:

      1. Look up before planting or pruning trees and work at a safe distance by keeping yourself and tools at least 10 feet away from power lines at all times.
      2. Stay away from downed power lines and call 911 if you see a downed line.
      3. If you plan to prune trees near power lines or your service wire, follow our pruning guidelines below.

Only line clearance-qualified contractors with special training and insulated tools are legally allowed to work near power lines. Working near power lines can lead to serious injury, or even death. If you need to hire a tree worker for other work on your property, always hire a qualified tree care service.

Graphic of pruning near service wires

As part of our Vegetation Management Program, we maintain required safety clearances around transmission and distribution power lines that serve cities and neighborhoods. However, you are responsible for maintenance of the service wire that runs from PG&E’s electric pole to your home. You can call us at 1-800-743-5000 to request a free temporary service disconnect so you or a contractor can safely work around the service wire that connects to your home.

Did you know that 811 is a free service that requires local utility companies to mark the location of their underground facilities so you can dig safely? To remain safe while planting trees, shrubs or flowers, practice safe digging by following these three steps:

      1. Mark the areas where you plan to dig in white and provide access to the digging location.
      2. Call 811 at least two business days before you dig or plant.
      3. Workers will mark the location of underground lines with flags, stakes or paint so you can avoid them.

Working near power lines is dangerous. We offer free safety resources for tree care businesses, orchard workers and any industry that may work near power lines. Together, we can help reduce preventable accidents and enhance safety in our communities.

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