Transmission vs. distribution power lines

Transmission lines

Transmission lines

  • Carry electricity across the state
  • Transport bulk electricity at high voltages ranging from 60 kV-500 kV
  • Are usually supported on tall metal towers, but sometimes on wooden poles
  • Have different vegetation standards than distribution lines due to the high voltages they carry
  • Are managed using the utility industry’s best-management practice of Wire Zone Border Zone
  • Require only low-growing vegetation underneath—typically nothing taller than 10 feet at maturity

Our goal is to achieve a sustainable landscape that supports native plants and natural habitats. Trees near these lines can't be managed by pruning and often must be removed.

Distribution lines

Distribution lines

  • Deliver electricity to neighborhoods and communities over a shorter distance than transmission lines
  • Are generally supported by wooden poles and not as high as transmission lines
  • Are the final stage of electricity delivery to homes and businesses
  • Carry lower voltage electricity that is still powerful enough to cause injury or death

Trees growing near these lines may be managed with directional pruning, but removal is often best. Tree height maximums are 25 feet or less at maturity.

Why Does PG&E Care about Keeping Trees Away from Transmission and Distribution Power Lines?

 


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Why Does PG&E Care about Keeping Trees Away from Transmission and Distribution Power Lines?

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Audio description and transcript also available for this video.


Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 19 KB)