Tree Trimming and Removal

PUC's current vegetation management contractor is 17 Trees. 

Rob Brewer, President and CEO of PUC Inc., wrote an article for T&D World Magazine, titled "The Role Of Field Technology in Utility Vegetation Managment."   The articles touches on the history and benefits of 17 Trees, an independent vegetation management contractor created by PUC, North Bay Hydro and Greater Sudbury Hydro.  

PUC Distribution’s Utility Vegetation Management Program

Why does PUC trim or remove trees?

PUC takes a proactive approach to vegetation management to reduce the incidence of power outages caused by trees and branches falling on power lines during severe wind and weather events. 

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.


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.

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.

Considerations when 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.

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.

Tree Concerns and Questions

To report a concern about trees and power lines, please call PUC Services at 705-759-6522.

Watch our Forestry Day in the Life Video!

PUC Distribution Inc. trims trees near power lines on a regular basis to maintain reliability and for public safety. We appreciate when the public notifies us of a potential problem with a tree near power lines.

To report a tree that has fallen on the power lines please CALL:

705-759-6522 (regular business hours)
705-759-6555 (After hours)


To request a tree that you would like trimmed or removed, please fill out the form below:


City Area
Location of Tree
Quantity of Trees
What is wrong with the tree
YOUR INFO Used in the event we need to contact you for more information
*First Name
*Last Name
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