Idaho Power hires qualified line clearing contractors to keep our power lines clear. These crews know how to create necessary line clearances while at the same time considering each tree’s species, size and natural shape.
Our contractors use a procedure called directional, or natural, pruning. The U.S. Forest Service and International Society of Arboriculture recommend this method. Idaho Power has been named a “Tree Line USA Utility” by the National Arbor Day Foundation every year since 1997. This award recognizes the company for caring for the health of trees while removing branches and limbs growing too near company power lines.
Directional pruning allows us to train the tree to grow away from power lines by removing only the branches that may come in contact with the wires. By selectively pruning the tree’s branches, much of the tree’s natural crown, or form, is retained. This is better for the health of the trees and is more cost efficient than topping because it doesn’t have to be done as frequently. The illustrations below depict proper pruning near power lines.
How Often Do We Clear Our Lines?
We clear the trees along our lines on a regular maintenance cycle. The shape, size and growth rate of trees affect how often they need pruning. Generally, our crews prune to create clearance to last for at least three years and to avoid problems with snow loading in winter.
Sometimes it’s necessary to remove a tree that has become a hazard to the public or our electrical system.
If a tree or trees are classified as hazardous, Idaho Power will correct this situation by removing the tree, leaving the wood and discussing a replacement option with the property owner. Wood larger than four inches from the tree belongs to the property owner and will be left behind. Small pieces of wood and branches are chipped at the job site and hauled away.
Idaho Power participates in the practice of recycling the urban forest. This means that the company removes dead, diseased and dying trees and purchases young healthy trees that will filter the air better and produce more oxygen for us to breathe.
If you have a tree near one of our lines that you think needs to be pruned or removed, or if you notice a tree interfering with power lines, contact us online or call us at 208-388-2323 from the Treasure Valley area, or 1-800-488-6151. To be safe, never attempt to prune a tree near our wires yourself.