Trees are an important part of every community. Unfortunately, when they get near power lines they can be dangerous and cause power outages. In fact, trees are involved in nearly 30 percent of all power outages. A video posted to our YouTube channel provides an overview of the process we go through to keep our lines clear of trees.
Right Tree, Right Place
The best way to avoid tree and power line conflicts is to avoid planting the wrong tree in the wrong place. No trees should be planted near high-voltage transmission lines. However, many trees are attractive additions to your community and, under normal conditions, will not grow tall enough to interfere with distribution power lines. If you need guidance on what type of trees can be planted near power lines, visit consumersenergy.com and go to the “Your Home” menu, then “Safety in Your Home” and “Trees and Power Lines.” There is also a brochure available online that provides an overview of our tree work as well as tree planting guidelines.
3-Step Process Notifies Customers Of Most Tree Work
It’s a challenging task to balance our need to keep lines clear of trees with the desire of our customers to maintain the trees around their place. That’s why we use a three-step process to contact customers who will be affected by tree work along our distribution lines — to seek their input before the cutting starts. Here is an outline of how the process works:
1. Customer is first contacted with a post card to notify them that a planner will be in their area to survey trees and mark them for removal or trimming.
2. As indicated on the post card, the planner will attempt to make personal contact with each customer on the circuit. If contact cannot be made, the planner will leave a door card with contact information. The planner will mark large trees requiring pruning with a blue dot and large trees requiring removal with a blue “X.” Brush, including small trees, will also be cleared from the right-of-way but may not be marked.
3. Once the planning is complete and the trees are marked, a letter will be sent to the customers to notify them that crews will be coming to their area to trim or remove trees. The mailing includes a brochure that details how Consumers Energy conducts tree work and provides them with other relevant information. It also includes the name of the contractor performing the work as well as contact information for the forester.