Trees that are too close to power lines not only pose a serious safety risk, they also present a risk to the reliability of electric service to your home or place of employment. Trees growing near the very high voltage transmission lines do not even have to contact the lines to cause problems. The electricity can jump from the wire to the tree across great distances. At best, this will cause the transmission line to shut down. Of course, it might also cause more extensive damage including fires and widespread power outages.
Trees are a leading cause of power outages and often pose a particularly high risk to utility lines during significant weather events involving snow, ice or wind. Courtesy of Wright Tree Service.
Who can forget the service outage that occurred in 2003 putting 55 million people in New York City in the dark and resulting in 11 fatalities and nearly $10 billion in related cost? Three trees on three different transmission lines in Ohio initiated that event.
Trees are also a threat to the reliability of the distribution lines that most people see running through their neighborhoods. In fact, for many utilities, trees are the largest cause of service interruptions, even under normal weather conditions. Weather brings lightning, ice and snow or high winds that can leave entire regions without power for days, or even weeks.
Utilities must remain focused on how trees can impact safety and reliability while remaining in compliance with a wide range of laws and regulations. Laws can vary by municipality and state. Often, there are federal regulations to consider as well.