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Trees and powerlines

Trees or other vegetation sometimes grow too close to power lines or equipment, creating a challenge in providing safe and reliable service.

Our tree trimming initiative is intended to help protect the public, protect property and maintain electric reliability around our overhead distribution infrastructure. Throughout the summer, our team trims trees that are located near power lines and prunes them on a regular basis.

Safety

Our electrical equipment transports high voltages of electricity. Contact with trees or shrubs can result in fires.

Reliability

Many service outages and interruptions are caused by tree limbs falling into power lines, causing damage to wires, short circuits and other problems. This danger can be avoided by not planting tall trees under or near electric wires, and by routine tree trimming.

How you can help

You can help by ensuring trees of the right type and size are planted around your home. Contact our representatives for guidelines on the types of trees to plant around your home to keep them safe and healthy around power lines.

​Prevent power outages by tree pruning

Every year, overgrown trees and other vegetation make contact with power lines. This contact creates a risk of electrical hazards including fires, electrical shock, and downed lines, which makes it a challenge to provide a safe and reliable service.

Our electrical equipment transports high voltages of electricity. Contact with trees or shrubs can result in fires. Many power outages and interruptions are caused by tree limbs that fall into power lines.

In an emergency

During a storm, tree branches can come into contact with power lines and cause power outages. If a tree has fallen onto a power line, we work to restore power to your home as quickly and safely as possible. This can mean trimming trees on your property to ensure power can be restored. 

It's important to report any trees in your neighbourhood that pose a threat to power lines, before they lead to a power outage, using our online form.

Request a tree trimming

 

Call us if a tree has fallen on a power line

If a tree has fallen on a power line, stay back 10 metres and call 911. Provide them with the address and location of the tree. Keep everyone back 10 metres from the tree and power line until EPCOR or emergency services can arrive and secure the scene.


Call our 24 hour power emergency line if the tree is:

  • Interfering with primary power lines
  • Causing power service issues
  • Causing severe stress on the power service line to your home or business 

Ph: (780) 412-4500

Know the lines

Many neighbourhoods have different overhead utility lines and it's important to be able to identify them so you know who to call if there's a problem, or if vegetation isin encroaching on a line.

We work with a certified vegetation management contractor to trim trees near primary and secondary power lines. Only during emergency situations will we trim trees on your property that interfere with the service or communication lines, in which case the homeowner is responsible for the clean-up and will not have input on aesthetics or the visual impact. 

 

Primary lines
  • Typically located at the top of the power pole
  • They run from power pole to power pole
  • Maintained by us and carry a high voltage
Secondary lines
  • ​They run from power pole to power pole
  • Maintained by us and carry lower voltages than primary lines
Service lines
  • They run from the power pole to your home or garage
  • Maintained by us and carry a low voltage
  • As a property owner, you are responsible to ensure that any vegetation or landscaping on your property does not interfere with any of the lines that run from the pole to your home
Communication lines
  • Typically, they are the lowest lines attached to the pole
  • They run from the pole to your home
  • Maintained by your cable or telephone provider

Easements on private property

Right-of-way easements allow us the authority to prune trees, without property owners' permission, in order to provide a safe and reliable electric system.

However, we respect your property and will always try to notify you of the need for the tree work before pruning is done. In unusual or emergency situations, it may be necessary to prune trees without first notifying you in order to restore service or eliminate safety hazards.

Only during emergency situations will we trim trees on your property that interfere with the service or communication lines. In these cases, the homeowner is responsible for the clean up and will not have input on aesthetics or the visual impact.

Request a tree trimming

 

​Working with professional arborists

EPCOR works with a certified vegetation management contractor to trim trees near primary and secondary power lines. While certified utility arborists are trained to safely maintain trees and vegetation growing near power lines, arborists without this designation are at risk of devastating injury or even death.

If certain safety measures are not taken, the entire tree and surrounding area can become energized and anyone working or passing by below are also at risk of electrical shock or electrocution.

Even if someone doesn't directly make contact, electricity can arc or "jump" from the line to their equipment.

For a list of arborits that are certified Utility Specialists visit the International Society of Arboriculture, Prairie Chapter.

  The danger below

Need to excavate or remove a tree trunk? Before you break ground, always request a locate from Alberta One-Call and have underground registered utilities marked.

 

​Plan out what trees and shrubs
to plant and where

When choosing which trees and shrubs to add to your yard, pay attention to the how high they might grow and their proximity to utility lines. If you live in an area with overhead power lines, a clearance of 3 metres helps reduce the chances of a tree coming into contact with the power line and causing a power outage or fire.

There are four zones to consider when planting near overhead power lines.

Four zones

Zone 1

1 metres from the power pole – no digging is to occur here.

Zone 2

Within 5 metres of the power line – maximum height of a mature tree/shrub is 6 metres.

Zone 3

5 to 10 metres from the power line – maximum height of mature tree is 12 metres.

Zone 4

Beyond 10 metres from the power line, any height of tree is acceptable.

Your local greenhouse is a good resource for more information on the mature heights of trees.

Note: For the overhead power service line to your house, keep the tree or shrub at least 1 metre away from the line.

​Tree trimming methods

V Trimming

L Trimming

Side Trimming

​Learn more about clearance requirements for power equipment.

 


Disclaimer

This webpage provides information only. Any reliance placed on this information is strictly at your own risk. EPCOR does not assume any responsibility or liability for any action, loss or damage that arises out of, or is in connection with the information contained in this webpage.