Trees and Power Lines

Trees near power lines are dangerous! When a tree grows close to a power line, it can create shock hazards, power outages, and fires:

  • If you climb a tree near a power line and touch the power line, electricity will go through you and you can be hurt or killed.
  • If a tree branch falls on a power line, it can cause a power outage. Electricity can go off in any homes or businesses served by the power line until the electric utility can remove the branch and fix the line.
  • If a tree branch touches a high-voltage power line, electricity from the line can make the branch so hot it catches fire. From there, the fire can spread to nearby trees, plants, or buildings.
  • Metallic balloons that come in contact with power lines can cause power outages. Keep them far away and never release them outdoors. If you see a metallic balloon near a power line or stuck in a tree; please report it to SCE by calling: 1-800-611-1911.

Stay Safe Around Trees & Power Lines

Do you like to climb and play in trees? Follow these tips to help keep yourself and your friends safe:

  1. Never climb in or play in trees that are growing next to power lines.
  2. Never touch a power line with your hand or with any other object, whether you are in a tree or on the ground.
  3. Don’t build a tree house, fort, or anything else in a tree that is next to power lines.
  4. Tell an adult if you see trees growing close to high-voltage power lines or contacting these lines. (High-voltage lines are the ones at the very top of power poles.)
  5. If you see a power line that has fallen into a tree or onto the ground, stay away and tell an adult immediately. Even if they are not sparking or humming, fallen lines can kill you if you touch them or the ground nearby.
  6. Tell an adult if you see someone trimming a tree next to a high-voltage power line. Qualified line-clearance tree trimmers are the only ones allowed to do this.
  7. Only plant trees that will not grow tall or wide enough to contact nearby power lines.
  8. Before planting a tree, call your local utility locator service to make sure you won’t dig into underground power lines.

Safe Tree Planting

More than 100,000 acres of the world’s trees are cut down every day. We can help offset this loss by planting trees in our neighborhoods. But we must plant trees in the right place, far from overhead power lines. If someone you know wants to plant a tree, use this checklist to help ensure it grows a safe distance from power lines.

Safe Tree Trimming

By law, electric utilities must keep trees trimmed so they remain a safe distance away from high-voltage power lines. Utilities hire specially trained tree trimmers to do this work.

These workers know how to trim trees to keep them healthy and to make sure branches won’t touch nearby lines. They use special tools like climbing ropes and bucket trucks made of materials that do not conduct electricity. If trees are too close to lines to trim safely, tree trimmers work with the local electric utility to turn off power to the line temporarily.

Only qualified line-clearance tree trimmers are allowed to trim trees near high-voltage power lines! If someone you know plans to trim a tree next to a power line, ask them to call the local electric utility first.

Tree Trimming TVTree Trimming Web

Download this helpful checklist:

Safe Tree-Planting Checklist (Link to PDF)

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