Sault Ste. Marie PUC
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Tree Trimming Info

PUC Distribution’s Utility Vegetation Management Program

1. Why does PUC Distribution trim and or remove trees?
2. What does the Law Say?
3. Responsibility and Qualifications to do the work
4. What about storm damage, who clean ups?
5. What to consider when planting a tree
6. All other questions and concerns


Why does PUC trim or remove trees?

PUC Distribution has a Utility Vegetation Management Program in place that maintains and removes trees and limbs along utility corridors to prevent contact with high voltage electrical wires. This program is performed by a highly skilled and qualified workforce on a 4 year cycle. The purpose for this program is to ensure public safety and to provide all of our customers with reliable electrical service and to help prevent unscheduled power interruptions.

Safety is our number one concern. Anyone pruning or climbing a tree around power lines is putting themselves into a potential highly dangerous situation. Trees and the ground around them may become energized when a tree or branch is touching power lines. This contact with the tree and power line could become fatal if anyone is in proximity or close to the tree at time of contact. STAY CLEAR.

Reliability is of great concern to PUC Distribution; trees cause a significant amount of power interruptions. Outages from trees are caused by branches rubbing on power lines, branches falling on power lines and trees falling across power lines during high winds and storms. For this reason trimming to maintain minimum safe clearances and removal of dangerous trees is performed on a scheduled regular basis.

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Legislation

The 1998, Electricity Act of Ontario requires that PUC Distribution maintain trees and brush to minimum clearances around its power lines. Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations stipulate what those clearances are and what the “Safe Limits of Approach” are for trained and untrained persons.
Utilities' Access to Private Property
The Electricity Act grants access for PUC Distribution to “enter and maintain any land for the purpose of cutting down or removing trees, branches or other obstructions”.
Easements are established at the municipal development planning stage that allows PUC Distribution to access and maintain equipment on private properties. In addition, homeowners and private businesses are required to sign a “Service Agreement” with PUC Distribution that allows access for maintenance before service connections are made.

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Responsibilities and Qualifications

It is the responsibility of PUC Distribution to maintain safe minimum clearances between trees and power lines as well as service lines that feed homes and businesses. PUC will only remove a tree outside this safe limit when the tree poses a direct danger of falling into the line causing a hazard.

This work is preformed by highly skilled contractor personnel trained and qualified to work in proximity to power lines. All contracted personnel working within the prescribed limits of approach to power lines are certified Utility Arborists and hold a Certificate of Qualification from the Province of Ontario. The equipment and tools are all tested and approved for work close to and around power lines. Trees are all trimmed to standard Arboricultural practices. The trimming crews have the latitude to make site by site decisions regarding trimming of trees to maintain safety and aesthetics while achieving appropriate safe clearances to power lines.

Who does what?

PUC Distribution is responsible to trim trees both within the municipal roadway and on private lands to the prescribed safe clearances from power lines. When tree trimming or line clearing is performed during our cyclical program within the utility corridor, all branches, limbs and debris will be cleaned up and removed from the property.

When a tree is trimmed or removed on private property, all brush, branches and limbs will be removed and cleaned up. Larger diameter trunks will be cut up into manageable 16” pieces and left on site for the property owner.

If a property owner is to remove a tree themselves, PUC will remove all of the tree that lies within or that may fall into the safe limits of the power lines and clean it up so that the owner may safely complete the removal. If a service line is involved PUC will remove the service line to the home during normal business hours at no cost to the owner and reinstall the service line once the tree has been safely removed.

Storm Damage

When trees and branches are removed from power lines due to storm damage, emergency crews will take every effort to leave the area safe from electrical hazards. All debris from the trees will be left for disposal by the property owner.

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What to consider when you are planting a tree

Homeowners can avoid service interruptions, help to reduce costs and can maintain a healthy tree by planting trees of the correct size and species. Please see chart for planting zones.

Powerline easements across private property may be granted where required at time of development. For properties that contain easements PUC requests that homeowners not plant trees or otherwise encroach on easements in a manner that will limit access or interfere with the operation of the power lines.

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Tree Concerns and Questions

To report a concern about trees and power lines, please call PUC Services 705-759-6500
For more information regarding trees and powerline safety visit the Electrical Safety Authority’s website at www.powerlinesafety.info

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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