This summer, you may have noticed Cuivre River Electric Cooperative crews near your neighborhood, spraying or working on trees and vegetation growing near electric lines, in or close to the right-of-ways.
As one might expect, it’s usually at this time when members raise questions, especially when CREC shows up to trim or remove a tree. Though an unpopular practice, it’s work that must be done, to ensure the safety of residents as well as CREC linemen, and to continue delivering safe and reliable electricity to you, our members.
What are right-of-ways anyway?
Right-of-ways allow a utility like CREC to pass through a property for a purpose such as managing trees and vegetation that are near electric lines.
Who makes the decision about cutting down a tree near a power line?
The choice of how to trim trees and manage vegetation growth near a power line is primarily made by the electric utility, subject to state and local requirements and laws, applicable safety codes, and any limitations or obligations specified in rights-of-way agreements.
The power lines near my house don’t seem to be anywhere near the trees. Why does CREC trim or remove them?
Electric cooperatives are required to always maintain the appropriate clearance between trees and electric lines. In the summer, power lines sag as they expand, due to air temperature and heavy use. Clearances around the lines must account for this, as well as wind, which causes the lines to sway. Also, CREC usually prunes or removes vegetation to a distance greater than the minimum clearances to account for future growth and other factors.
Can’t I just trim or remove the trees near power lines myself?
Trimming or removing trees that are near or close to power lines is extremely hazardous, and is NEVER a do-it-yourself project. Even working within 10 feet can be dangerous, as electricity can arc from power line to tree, even when the branch or limb may not appear to be touching the line. If you see a tree(s) growing near power lines, please call us at 800-392-3709.
For more about right-of-ways and CREC’s vegetation/tree management program, click here.
*The above photo is an example of trees planted too close to powerlines. In addition to the potential hazard of branches interfering with the lines, the trees are an obstacle for CREC crews to be able to properly maintain the poles and lines, or repair them if it becomes necessary.