Vegetation management is critical to maintaining the reliability of our electric system for all homes and businesses.
Reliability improves by reducing tree-related outages. Through our comprehensive vegetation management program, we’re determined to reduce the number of power outages for everyone.
Our professional foresters work directly with qualified line clearance tree trimming companies, which are trained to safely work around energized power lines and perform the work properly.
On the distribution system that delivers power to your neighborhood, contractors follow industry best practices, including directional pruning, to help prevent tree contacts with power lines that can cause outages.
With directional pruning, entire branches under, over or beside power lines are pruned back to the main stem of the tree or to another large branch. Remaining branches are left to grow naturally. It is a method endorsed by the Arbor Day Foundation and follows nationally recognized Standards for Tree Care Operations.
Beginning in 2013, we stepped up the scope of trimming along distribution lines serving larger numbers of customers. The goal is to create a larger buffer between our lines and nearby trees and eliminate more potential outage threats. In some cases, crews may need to remove all vegetation under and above a power line. In others, all of the vegetation above the line will be removed, regardless of its distance from the line.
Included in this effort is an increased emphasis on removing “hazard trees,” those trees outside of the right of way that pose a threat of falling and damaging a power line. These trees are removed with permission of the property owner.
Our vegetation management program is conducted mainly for safety and reliability. Some customers may want an arborist or landscaper to perform additional pruning for aesthetic purposes.
When we trim or remove trees, larger wood is generally cut into handling lengths and left at the base of the tree for property owner use. In more rural areas where possible, tree crews will pile pruning debris to create cover for wildlife. Larger limb wood will be separated and left for property owner use.
If you'd like wood chips, please see the foreman of the tree crew doing the work. The foreman will do his or her best to grant your request. If you do request chips, be mindful that contractors will deliver full loads – 5 to 7 cubic yards – and will not remove unused chips once delivered.
Consult our distribution system vegetation management brochure for more information.
On the transmission system, which is like a highway for electricity, the work we do will depend on the voltage of the line as well as the specific rights we have for each property. We will be happy to discuss these rights with you in advance of the work and also discuss what work will be done. Call 1-877-528-2889 or send us an email. Consult our brochure for more information.
PPL Electric Utilities does not remove or dispose of any vegetation from transmission rights of way after cutting. One reason is that materials belong to the property owner. Also, in some areas, like hillsides, leaving cut vegetation can protect against erosion.
Helicopter patrols improve reliability along transmission lines
We use the latest technology to help maintain reliable electric service. LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) helps us identify potential tree interference with transmission lines faster and more accurately.
Laser beams from a helicopter accurately measure distances from a wire to any potential obstructions including trees. It creates a map that displays the relative heights and positions of towers, power lines, and trees. LIDAR inspections each year verify clearances around high-voltage lines and help us prioritize where clearance work is needed to meet the reliability standards.
We’re a Tree Line USA® utility
PPL Electric Utilities is proud to be a Tree Line USA® award recipient from the National Arbor Day Foundation. The Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, promotes the dual goals of safe, reliable electric service and abundant, healthy trees across utility service areas.
The program seeks to promote best practices in utility arboriculture and public education through five core standards: annual worker training, quality tree care, tree planting and public education, energy conservation, and collaboration with community groups.