Did you know that tree limbs and branches are among the most common causes of power outages and flickers?

As a Yampa Valley Electric Association (YVEA) member, you are responsible for the safety, protection and right-of-way of YVEA equipment for routine maintenance and scheduled work. You can help minimize tree-related outages and ensure safe, reliable electric service for the future by taking time to plan before you plant and remember the importance of the things below:

  • The right-of way of overhead and underground power lines
  • Proper placement of trees in tall, medium and low zones
  • Maintaining access to equipment such as green transformer boxes and meter enclosures

Remember, before you plant be sure you know where existing underground and overhead power lines are located. Avoid planting directly underneath power lines and consider the mature height and crown spread prior to planting.

WHY WE TRIM:

Reliability:

Trees that are too close to power lines can interfere with electric service, especially when weather brings lightning or high winds. For reliability and compliance with the National Electric Safety Code, we prune or remove trees that threaten electric service.

Pruning helps prevent power outages. Since trees are a leading cause of electric outages, one of the best ways to reduce interruptions for customers is to maintain adequate clearance (fifteen feet minimum) between trees and power lines by pruning on a regular basis. Pruning helps to ensure that your power stays on during gusty winds and thunderstorms. During these weather events, branches within the minimum clearance of the power lines will cause interruptions in service.

Well-maintained rights of way allow easier access for personnel and vehicles during power outage restorations due to storms. By maintaining this access to our facilities, we can get all members' power restored more efficiently and safely.

Trees that are properly pruned to ANSI A300 standards are much more likely to maintain a healthy structure and appearance. YVEA specifications call for our contractors to trim to these standards.

Safety:

Members should never attempt to clear trees from around power lines.Tree%20in%20Line.jpg

Remember that electric utility lines carry voltages that are many times greater than the standard household voltage. Both primary and secondary lines have the potential to kill or severely injure people who make contact with them, either directly or indirectly. This means that although you are not touching the power line, if something near you touches it, you could be electrocuted.

Yampa Valley Electric Association is committed to maintaining our facilities in a manner that helps promote the safety of employees, the community, and our members. For this reason, YVEA does not encourage members or untrained contractors to prune trees near power lines. YVEA utilizes only qualified line-clearance contractors who have been specially trained to work safely around our facilities. For your safety and the safety of others, please contact YVEA before working near or trimming any branches in the vicinity of power lines.

If you are planning to remove or trim a tree near our power lines or if a tree leans excessively toward our lines, please contact us by submitting a tree trimming request below.

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More About YVEA Vegetation Management

Typically, the amount and type of pruning that is necessary is based on:

  • Tree species
  • Growth rates (how fast the branches grow back)
  • Wood strength (the chance of the branch breaking under the load of strong wind, snow or ice) -Conductivity (how well the wood can conduct electricity)
  • Branch size (Larger-diameter branches coming in contact with conductors by failure or deflection create the greatest risk for tree-related interruptions)
  • Voltage conducted by the line and the line’s construction (the higher the voltage, the greater the clearance required)
  • Framing and spacing between phases of multi-phase lines (compact design and multi-phase lines pose higher risk to tree-related interruptions)
  • Location of a tree in relationship to protective devices and critical customers on the circuit (hospitals, etc)
  • Location of a tree in regards to general public safety (existence of tree houses, public places, climb ability of tree etc)
  • Risk of wildfire ignition

Yampa Valley Electric follows the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) A-300 Part 1: Tree, Shrub, and Other Woody Plant Maintenance – Standard Practices, Pruning. These guidelines are followed to remove or shorten dangerous limbs, such as those overhanging wires that have a high potential for breaking or bending into YVEA's conductors due to ice, snow or wind loading.

Installing utility lines underground comes with a very high price tag, coupled with more difficult (and longer) repairs in the event of a power failure. Also, converting an overhead system to underground may do more damage to the root systems of existing trees.

  • Proper utility pruning reduces hazards resulting from falling trees and limbs, which can cause wires to break or sag to the ground and present a danger to motorists and pedestrians.
  • Overgrown trees or limbs near power lines pose a danger to unsuspecting children who could come in contact with a live line while climbing a tree.
  • Directional pruning allows us to train the tree to grow away from power lines by removing only the branches that come in contact with the wires. By selectively trimming the tree's branches, we can retain much of the tree's natural crown.•For certain species of trees, the preferred method of vegetation management would be a full removal. This decision is based on the growth cycle of the species.
  • To assure Cooperative members that unnecessary costs are not incurred because of damage or power losses due to poor right-of-way.

YVEA’s tree trimming contractor follows guidelines set forth by the Utility Arborist Association, Tree Care Industry Association, and the National Electric Safety Code. All crews are professionally trained to recognize hazardous situations and use proper pruning techniques to correct those situations. They use directional pruning, which removes entire branches and limbs to the main tree trunk or large lateral branch. This technique directs future growth away from power lines, reduces re-growth and protects the tree from decay while preserving as much beauty as possible. We avoid tree topping because topped trees can quickly regain their original height and the large number of fast-growing sprouts are susceptible to breakage and storm damage. 

  • Primary Lines: Trimming requirements vary according to facility type, tree species and line proximity. Branches can extend above or below but not too close to wires. The goal is to prune branches and remove trees in situations where adequate clearance will not be maintained until we are in your neighborhood again and it threatens reliability. 

 

tree trimming image.jpg

 

YVEA’s tree trimming contractor follows guidelines set forth by the Utility Arborist Association, Tree Care Industry Association, and the National Electric Safety Code. All crews are professionally trained to recognize hazardous situations and use proper pruning techniques to correct those situations. They use directional pruning, which removes entire branches and limbs to the main tree trunk or large lateral branch. This technique directs future growth away from power lines, reduces re-growth and protects the tree from decay while preserving as much beauty as possible. We avoid tree topping because topped trees can quickly regain their original height and the large number of fast-growing sprouts are susceptible to breakage and storm damage. 

  • Service and Secondary Lines: These wires are more resistant to tree contact, and the homeowner is responsible for trimming trees to prevent them from growing into service lines.  Before you or your contractor trim or remove trees close to service lines (pole-to-home wires), contact YVEA to ask us to turn off the power. We turn off electricity temporarily by dropping the service line to the ground and restore it when your work is complete -- at no cost to you during normal business hours.service lines.jpg

 

YVEA’s tree trimming contractor follows guidelines set forth by the Utility Arborist Association, Tree Care Industry Association, and the National Electric Safety Code. All crews are professionally trained to recognize hazardous situations and use proper pruning techniques to correct those situations. They use directional pruning, which removes entire branches and limbs to the main tree trunk or large lateral branch. This technique directs future growth away from power lines, reduces re-growth and protects the tree from decay while preserving as much beauty as possible. We avoid tree topping because topped trees can quickly regain their original height and the large number of fast-growing sprouts are susceptible to breakage and storm damage. 

  • Underground electricity service: As part of our continuing effort to provide safe, reliable service, we routinely inspect pad-mounted transformers. On occasion we need to access them to maintain the equipment or restore service during a power interruption. To make this work possible, we need to be sure there are no trees, shrubs, plants or other obstructions within 10 feet of the front of the transformer and within five feet of the other three sides.underground.jpg
  • Cable or Telephone Lines: We do not trim trees for these facilities. Contact your telephone or cable company if you are concerned about tree contact.

Trimming cycles are highly dependent on tree growth rate and type of electric facilities in the area.

Scheduled Vegetation Control - Line Clearing and brush control performed on a cycle or periodic basis.

A. The Members shall do the following:

  1. Allow YVEA employees or its representative access to the overhead power lines for vegetation    control.

  2. Allow for vegetation control to meet NESC requirements and right-of-way widths specified in the   easements.

B. The Cooperative shall do the following:

  1. Identify sections of primary lines needing vegetation control, which are not in compliance with the National Electrical Safety Code.

  2. Budget funding for identified work.

  3. Contact Property Owners of line sections to be cleared.

  4. Perform the work identified for scheduled vegetation control.

      a. Follow accepted clearing and brushing methods identified in the current ANSI Standards.

      b. Provide traffic control, as needed.

      c. Trim vegetation or cut brush within the right-of-way.

     d. Dispose the cuttings by spreading the material, chipping the cuttings, or stacking it for burning later.

    e. For large areas YVEA utilizes the use of EPA approved herbicides for the control of brush.

        (1)    Inform the property owners of its use.

        (2)    Meet all Environmental Protective Agency testing requirements.

        (3)    Follow the label directions by the Product manufacturer.

When we schedule trimming in your area that includes trees on your property, a Company Representative will contact you personally, in-person, on the phone or by leaving a door hanger before trimming and removing trees and limbs too close to our power lines. 

• You do not incur any charges for required tree trimming work.

• Crews only perform work needed to maintain reliable electric service.

C. Requests for Vegetation Removal by Members

     1.  The Cooperative will provide members with assistance by dropping service wires for purposes of removing vegetation where appropriate, at no cost to the member during normal hours of operation.

          a.       The Cooperative shall lower service lines and reattach the service once the vegetation is removed.

2.  The Member shall:

          a. Contact YVEA for assistance with vegetation removal.

          b. Schedule the service drop or any secondary service to be dropped at least 5 working days ahead of time during normal hours of operation.

          c. Arrange for the removal of all nonthreatening vegetation to YVEA facilities.

         d. Clean up the debris from the vegetation removal.

3.  The Cooperative will assist members when possible with situations involving primary conductors for vegetation removal.

  1. The Cooperative shall:

      a.    Evaluate the situation for hazards to YVEA facilities.

      b.    Strive to maintain service to existing members.

      c.    Look for alternatives to lowering any primary lines.

      d.    Arrange for YVEA line clearing contractor to remove any vegetation hazardous to YVEA  facilities.

 

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Tall Zone – Large trees that grow 45 feet high or taller should be planted 50 feet away from overhead lines

Medium Zone – Medium trees that grow 35 feet high or more should be planted 20 feet away from overhead lines

Low Zone – Small trees and shrubs that grow 20 feet or less may be planted near overhead lines

Plan before you plant

Location is everything when it comes to planting trees and shrubs. Haphazardly planting trees and shrubs near overhead and underground power lines could directly endanger your home and our ability to provide safe, reliable service in the future. Be sure to take your time when considering the type of trees or shrubs to plant and be sure you know where all underground and overhead utilities are located.

Overhead power lines: Determine if the plant is suitable for the desired location by selecting trees and shrubs based on their size at full maturity. Avoid hazardous conditions and costly service interruptions by planting tall-growing trees at least 50 feet away from power line poles. Small growing trees and shrubs should be placed at least 20 feet away from poles. Plant trees and shrubs away from utilities. If planting trees near overhead lines, place taller trees away from overhead lines and use shorter, slower growing trees for closer planting.

Underground power lines: Planting too close to underground utilities can create major damage. Expanding tree roots can lift or crush utility lines or cables, creating additional problems related to service loss, environmental hazards and costly repairs. Call 811 before you dig. It’s important to note that 811 locators will not identify secondary YVEA power lines.

We advise contacting a local secondary line locator to be sure all utilities are marked prior to planting. For recommendations on secondary line locators contact YVEA.

Pad mounted transformer (green box) clearance: Avoid planting in front of transformer doors. Allow 10 feet of clearance in front of transformer doors, and 4 feet of clearance around the sides and back.

Access to equipment: To help ensure reliable service, YVEA personnel must have unobstructed access to equipment at all times. Members are responsible for keeping areas around electric meters, transformers, or other electrical equipment free of any vegetation.

Neglect one simple step and you could dig yourself into deep trouble. So “call before you dig.”

Call Before You Dig 811

It’s critical that you make sure all lines are located before you dig. Calling 811 will not cover you for YVEA secondary lines to your home or business. To have your secondary lines located you will need to contact a local locator. Contact us for recommendations.