Keeping your power lines clear

Trees beautify our communities, provide habitat for wildlife, offer shade, and help keep our environment clean. But trees that grow too close to or into LPEA's powerlines can result in power outages, wildfires, and safety risks. That’s why LPEA operates an aggressive vegetation management program that keeps our powerlines clear of trees. 

Why does LPEA trim and remove trees?

  • Safety: Trees are excellent conductors of electricity. When they grow into powerlines or even just too close, it presents a major safety hazard. Electricity can travel through the tree and severely injure or kill individuals working or playing on or near the tree. 

  • Reliability: Maintaining a proper clearance of at least 15-25 feet between our powerlines and trees minimizes the impact trees have on your electric service. This clearance space helps prevent wind, snow, and ice from breaking tree limbs and sending them into the powerlines. 

  • Fire Mitigation: Maintaining proper clearance also decreases the risk of wildfires. When trees come in contact with our lines, they can catch fire.  

  • Affordability: By maintaining clear rights-of-way around our powerlines, we prevent the need to repair and replace powerlines, poles, and other equipment that may have been damaged by trees during storms. The upfront cost of our vegetation management program is outweighed by the significant savings from reduced outages and equipment maintenance.

How does LPEA trim and remove trees? 

Our priority is to remove trees that are within our power line rights-of-way on our primary power lines. Primary powerlines are the lines you see running from pole to pole on our system. LPEA removes trees within our rights-of-way along these lines because they carry high-voltage electricity to our local communities and require special care and handling. In some cases, these lines cross private property. While LPEA has the authority to remove trees located within our rights-of-way on private property, we understand this can be frustrating for homeowners. Our main concern is safety for you and for our employees. Tree trimming greatly increases both the safety and reliability of the electrical system and is a necessary maintenance procedure.  

LPEA is not responsible for trimming or removing trees along the service lines running from our poles to your home. 

The service line carrying power from our system to the meter on the side of your home has the least impact on power outages. As such, LPEA does not maintain vegetation clearances along these lines or along joint use wires such as telephone and cable lines. It is the homeowner's responsibility to trim trees and vegetation along these lines. Always hire a qualified and licensed professional tree trimmer to perform any work along your service lines. You may also request a temporary disconnect, and we will de-energize your service so your contractor can safely trim back your trees. 

How can you help? 

You can help us keep our power lines clear of trees by following better practices when you plant trees. With lifespans ranging from 50 to 5,000 years, you’ll want to plant your tree in a place where it can flourish long-term, not under power lines. 

  • Don’t plant trees within 25 feet of LPEA’s power lines. 

  • Only shrubs or small trees (growing less than 20 feet high) should be planted within 25 feet of power lines. 

  • Don’t plant any vegetation around LPEA ground equipment, such as poles, transformers, or junction boxes. 

  • Call 811 before you dig to locate any buried utility lines. 

  • Report any trees growing into power lines or other LPEA equipment immediately to 970-247-5786. 

  • Never trim these trees yourself. 

  • We highly recommend that you contact a tree professional to assess any tree trimming needs on your property. They can then contact LPEA at (970) 247-5786 when action is needed. If damage to LPEA infrastructure is caused by the private felling or trimming of trees, the member is responsible for repair costs. 

  • Clear your own brush – The Wildfire Adapted Partnership’s (WAP) 2021 Chipper Rebate Program is open until September 30th, or until funds are depleted. WAP reimburses homeowners 50% of their chipper use expenses, up to $250 per household. HOAs or communities that rent chippers or hire contractors to provide chipping services may also qualify for a 50% rebate of up to $750. More: chipper@wildfireadapted.org  

  • Assess your risk – WAP also offers a Home Wildfire Site Visit, to determine your property’s wildfire risk, and to propose mitigative efforts. More: wildfireadapted.org        

Tree Trimming

veg managment

FAQs 

What is the property owner responsible for? 

LPEA’s vegetation management crews are responsible for trimming and removing trees along all our primary and transmission lines. Property owners are responsible for trimming and removing trees on the secondary line that brings electric service from the transformer to their homes. Members should work with licensed and insured tree trimmers to do this work. 

After tree crews finish work, how long does clean up take? 

After a trimming job is complete, all debris will be cleared and chipped within three business days. All wood larger than 3” in diameter will be left on site for the landowner to use. In rural areas, wood chips will be broadcasted on site, and in unmaintained areas, branches will be lopped and scattered.   

Can the property owner keep leftover branches and or wood chips? 

All wood larger than 3” diameter will be left on site for the landowner to use. We can also leave other debris on-site at the member’s request. For safety reasons, LPEA does not give away any woodchips created. 

I think I might have a tree that would damage power lines. What do I do? 

Never attempt to trim trees growing near power lines yourself. It is extremely dangerous and against the law. Always call LPEA at 970-247-5786.     

I don’t want LPEA to trim or remove my trees. What are my options? 

LPEA has the right to remove and trim any tree or vegetation growing in our rights-of-way. This work helps prevent expensive outage repairs and reduces the risk of wildfires. If there is a hazard tree growing in our right-of-way on your property, we will notify you of the need to remove the tree. Property owners that do not allow our crews to complete this work will be held responsible for any damage caused by their tree(s) and incur the cost of all future trimming.