Properly planted and maintained trees can improve air quality and beautify our community. However, trees placed too close to power lines to create fire and safety hazards and cause power outages.
We at BCES have an obligation to provide safe and reliable electric service. The customers grant us permission(#5 Applications for service to maintain our electric system, which includes clearing trees and other vegetation, and to treat by chemical means vegetation that encroaches es upon our overhead power lines and equipment posing a risk to public safety and service reliability.
BCES periodically prunes or removes trees that are near power lines. We hire trained, professional tree pruners who are qualified to work safely near energized power lines.
Why we prune trees?
There two reasons we prune trees:
- To prevent unsafe conditions: BCES is committed to protecting the safety of the public, customers, and employees. Trees conduct electricity and create potential safety hazards when branches grow to close to power lines. For example, an unsuspecting child could climb on a overgrown tree, come in contact with a live power line and risk electrocution.
We also want to protect our line crews, who are often exposed to dangerous situations when called to repair tree-related damage. To prevent unsafe conditions, BCES periodically prunes trees to maintain proper clearance for overhead power lines.
- To maintain reliable service: Our primary job at BCES is to provide reliable electric service to homes and businesses throughout our county. When tree branches come in contact with power lines, they can cause power outages or fires. This happens most often in windy and stormy conditions, especially in the summer months during storm season. Since its inception, our tree-pruning program has drastically reduced the number and duration of outages caused by trees.
How we prune trees
BCES will prune or remove trees that are growing into or too close to an overhead power line if they are between two power poles. Please note that BCES will not clear vegetation around power lines that run from power poles to homes or grind stumps.
Currently, BCES crew prune thousands of trees every year. BCES uses a technique called "directional pruning" to train trees to grow away from overhead lines. This technique, recommended by the National Arborist Association, is healthier for trees than "topping" or "rounding" tree growth, limits the need for additional future pruning, and keeps branches a safe distance from power lines
The amount of pruning varies according to a number of factors, including tree growth rates, location, previous pruning practices and watering method(e.g. irrigation)
Although directional pruning may not improve tree appearance, we believe it is a reasonable and responsible approach to keeping people and property safe and electric service reliable.
In addition to directional pruning, BCES currently offers near to the ground removal free-of-charge in situations where tree growth is too rapid for periodic pruning. However, stump grinding and removal is a property owner responsibility.
In addition to safety and reliability, BCES is committed to looking after the environment of our region. We recycle most of the tree materials we prune or remove. Brush and clippings are chipped and used for mulch.
This recycling effort significantly decreases the amount of waste placed in area landfills and BCES disposal costs. We also conduct our line-clearing activities in a way that protects wildlife, including endangered species such as the spotted owl.
Overhead Power Line Safety
You should never attempt to prune trees near power lines or hire a tree-trimming contractor to work within 10 feet of energized power lines. TOSHA(Tennessee Occupational Safety Health Administration) places restrictions on this work to protect public safety.
If you want to prune near overhead lines that run between a power pole and your home or other structures on your property, please call BCES at 731-584-8251 to arrange for temporary disconnection of service. Please call at least a day in advance of the anticipated tree-trimming work and provide us with a daytime phone number. You need to be present when we arrive to disconnect service. *
If you see a tree growing into power lines that are between two power poles and want to have it evaluated for pruning and removal, call 731-584-8251.
*Tree-trimming-related disconnection requests may need to be rescheduled when emergency situations occur or previously scheduled service orders must be completed.