Trees can affect service reliability and interrupt power to customers. In worst-case scenarios, heavy snowfall or strong winds can cause trees to knock down power lines or break poles.
To help keep trees away from our lines, we hire qualified line-clearing contractors to prune trees on a regular maintenance cycle.
Most lines are not insulated; they are bare wires. A tree or even a limb that grows into or falls across two wires on the pole can create a path for electricity. When this happens, protective equipment usually shuts off the line.
You should never climb or prune trees near power lines because you or your equipment could contact an energized line. Serious injuries or death could occur if a person touches energized power lines.
However, we caution all homeowners to take care when pruning any vegetation near power equipment. Only trained professionals should prune trees around power lines. Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead lines, and contact Idaho Power if necessary.
If a branch near a service wire is determined to be a problem, we can de-energize the power line during normal business hours at no charge so the customer can make the necessary prunes.
Each tree is different and must be considered individually. Trees with trunks close to power lines require much heavier pruning than trees that are farther from the line.
Some techniques that are appropriate on hardwood trees cannot be used on some softwood species. When pruning, our experts make every effort to provide enough clearance for the tree to remain safe until the next time it is pruned.
Directional pruning removes each limb where it joins another limb or at the trunk. This procedure is different from “rounding” trees over, where limbs are cut at random points, normally leaving unhealthy “stub” cuts.
Directional pruning involves cutting a limb back to another limb so future growth is directed away from power lines. With the directional technique, tree growth causes minimal impact to public safety and electric service.
Yes. Each crew has at least one certified arborist or person who has completed an advance course in arboricultural training. The area supervisors, Idaho Power utility arborists and staff notifying customers in advance about line clearing are all certified arborists.
The cost of managing the natural growth around power lines is part of the prices approved by the public utility commissions in Idaho and Oregon for providing power. There is not separate charge.
Our policy is to chip any small limbs, branches and brush from landscaped settings. Idaho Power will haul this material away or leave the mulch with the property owner at their request. Any wood larger than four inches in diameter is cut into manageable lengths for the property owner. Dead wood cannot be chipped and will be left on the property.
In non-landscaped sites, pruned vegetation and wood is left in place to biodegrade.
When severe weather causes trees or other vegetation to fall across power lines, causing power outages, we cut the trees and brush so poles and lines can be replaced and re-energized. Disposal of any wood, limbs or debris resulting from this type of emergency operation is the property owner’s responsibility.