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Tree Maintenance

tree maintenance


Trees & Power Lines

Cobb EMC is dedicated to providing our members with safe and reliable electric service. Trees growing around power lines can cause electric faults and outages and can create a safety hazard for our crews and the general public. As part of the ongoing maintenance of our electric distribution system Cobb EMC crews must trim and in some cases remove trees and vegetation that can interfere with the power lines on a planned cycle. 

Why is tree trimming important?
When branches grow too close to power lines outages can occur. Trees and brush can be conductors of electricity and trimming is necessary to avoid contact with undergrowth that can result in outages and safety hazards. Ice can weigh branches down until they are in danger of touching lines. Thunderstorms or heavy rains can cause tree limbs (or a tree itself) to fall on overhead lines, taking out the power to your neighborhood. This can also cause energized lines to fall to the ground, posing a safety hazard to anyone nearby.

Recommended tree planting guidelines:

Recommended tree planting guidelines

What determines if a tree will be trimmed or removed?
Cobb EMC will consider removal of a tree within 15 feet of primary wire. Trees growing near service wire will be removed if they are endangering the line, dead, trunks are rubbing the wire or if they are in a weakened condition. Otherwise, Cobb EMC will trim the trees back 15 feet on each side of a primary line. If a tree on your property meets the guidelines for removal, mark it clearly with ribbon, tape or paint and be sure to move any obects that could be struck by the tree when it is cut down. Other circumstances within these guidelines may result in exceptions and will be at the discretion of a Cobb EMC representative.

What can be done to prevent tree-related outages?
We can’t prevent bad weather, but we can reduce outages caused by falling limbs and trees. Our forestry department works year-round to maintain the right-of-way. How much they trim depends on your tree. If it’s fast-growing, the crews trim branches more than they would for slow-growing trees. This allows us to maintain the reliability of the electric service provided to our members.

What happens to the trimmed branches?
As our forestry crews remove trimmed limbs and branches, they are chipped into mulch that is available year-round, at no cost to Cobb EMC members. Call Cobb EMC at 770-429-3413 to have mulch delivered to your home or business on a first-come, first-served basis. Churches, schools and county organizations will receive priority.

How can you make yard work safer?

  • When working in your yard, leave plenty of space between power lines and equipment, like ladders, that could come in contact with them.
  • If your yard has trees or branches growing into the power lines, please do not attempt to trim them yourself. Contact Cobb EMC at 770-429-2100, and we’ll send our forestry crews to get your yard back in safe shape.

How can you make landscaping safer?

  • Before you begin any digging project, call 811 to have underground utilities marked for free.
  • Don’t plant shrubs or hedges at the base of power poles. It makes it harder for our crews to work on power lines, if you have an outage.
  • If you live in a newer neighborhood that has underground power lines, when planting trees or shrubs, maintain 10 feet of clearance from the front of the transformer and three feet on all other sides to allow Cobb EMC access. Maintaining clearance also keeps roots from interfering with underground lines running to the transformer.
  • If you’re planning landscaping projects, remember to leave enough room between new plants and overhead power lines. You don’t have to give up your dream of a beautiful, shaded yard. You simply need to choose the right tree for the right place, planning for the mature height of a tree.
  • Never plant trees directly under power lines. Short trees should be planted at least 25 feet away from power lines, while medium-sized trees should be planted at least 40 feet away from power lines. Keep in mind: Branches near power lines can be extremely dangerous.

What if you spot an electrical hazard?

  • If you see an electrical hazard, stay clear and call 911.
  • Always assume power lines are energized. Remember, if a power line is touching a tree, the tree itself can be energized. Stay as far back from a fallen line as possible.
  • If you see that your trees or branches are close to your power lines and could pose a threat, notify Cobb EMC at 770-429-2100. Please also call us if you see a tree fall into a power line or if you spot another hazardous condition. If the power line starts an electrical fire, contact your local fire department and stay away from the area.

Sources: U.S. Department of Energy, Safe Electricity


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