Trees can affect service reliability and interrupt power to customers.
In a worst-case scenario, a tree can tear down the entire line and break the poles. However, a tree or even a limb can fall across two of the wires on the pole and create a path for electricity flow. When this happens, protective equipment usually shuts off the line.
High growing bushes, vines and trees may cause electrical blinks and flickers.
Trees and tree limbs can tear down power lines. When trees grow close to or into the lines, someone climbing a tree could contact an energized line. Serious injuries or death may occur if a person touches energized power lines. Most lines are not insulated; they are bare wires.
Each tree is different and must be considered individually. Trees with trunks close to the power lines require much heavier pruning than trees located 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 attempt to provide sufficient clearance for the tree to remain safe until the next routine maintenance (roughly every three years).
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 the line clearing project are all certified arborists.
The cost of managing the natural growth around power lines is part of the rates approved by the public utility commissions in both Idaho and Oregon.
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, creating 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.