Contact Us:  (423) 542-1101

Tree Trimming

ROW (Right of Way) & Tree Trimming

The Elizabethton Electric Department strives at all times to render the highest quality of service. Trees or branches growing into power lines and roots interfering with underground service are a major cause for interruption of service for many customers. To minimize service interruption and damage to its overhead and URD lines and equipment, the Electric Department performs routine maintenance on trees and brush that could potentially interfere with electrical service subject to budgetary limitations. These guidelines are consistent with the National Electric Safety Code’s Safety Rules for Installation and Maintenance of Overhead Electric Supply and Communication Lines.

Customer Tree Trimming Responsibilities

The customer shall be responsible for the initial clearing of the right-of-way easement on customer’s property. For service conductors the customer shall trim trees so no limb is closer than ten (10) feet to the service conductor; remove all trees except dogwood, redbud, and other ornamentals, all of which must be topped and remove all overhanging limbs of trees located at a greater distance less than ten (10) feet of the center line of the proposed service line. For primary conductors the customer shall remove all trees within fifteen (15) feet of the center line of the proposed primary line. No tree, flowers or shrubs shall be located within a 15 foot radius of a pole so that service trucks will have full access without damage to the owner’s shrubbery or landscape.Customer tree maintenance responsibilities: The customer shall be responsible for maintaining tree clearance around the service conductors. If trees need trimming, the customer should call the Electric Department to arrange a time for the Electric Department to drop the service lines so the customer or customer’s contractor can trim limbs close to the service line. There is no charge for dropping the lines for a customer to trim or cut trees. However, the service must be requested 48 hours in advance of tree work by calling 423-547-8644 to request this service. Criteria for tree trimming and tree removal.

Hazard Defined/Corrective Measures: Trees that exist near power supply conductors shall be considered a threat to create a disruption of electrical service. They shall be removed or trimmed, if practical, so that neither the movement of the trees nor the swinging or increased sagging of conductors in wind or ice storms or at high temperatures will bring about contact between the conductors and the trees. The species and size of the tree, the location of the tree and its branches, normal tree growth, the combined movement of trees and conductors under adverse weather conditions, voltage, and sagging of conductors at elevated temperatures are among the factors to be considered by the Electric Department in determining the extent of trimming required. In like manner, the threat of a tree’s root system to underground service will be the primary matter considered in connection with tree removal associated with underground service.

New Service

Service Conductors: The Customer must trim area for service installation, so that no limb is within ten (10) feet of a service conductor. If Customer wishes to have the Electric Department trim for their new service, the Customer will absorb the actual cost of the trimming.

Primary Overhead Conductors: The Customer must remove all fast growing, trees located within fifteen (15) feet of all overhead primary lines and trim all slow growing trees to a height of fifteen (15) feet, or other clearance required by the Electric Department. The Engineering Department shall contact the Right of Way Coordinator to remove hazardous vegetation which may cause damage to electrical facilities. Developers and contractors in new subdivisions shall work with the Electric Department to clear new lines and shall remove all trees within a thirty (30) foot zone, in contrast to merely trimming or topping them, as relates to all new primary lines.Primary

Underground Conductors: The Customer, developer or contractor in any new subdivision must remove all trees located within fifteen (15) feet of the center of the proposed primary line prior to the same being installed.

Routine Maintenance

Tree Removal: No mature trees shall be planted directly under primary lines or on utility easements. The Electric Department will make a reasonable effort to obtain permission to remove, in contrast to merely trimming, all trees planted inside right of ways. If permission is granted, all brush and debris will be removed and the wood that is usable will be cut in fire wood lengths or log lengths as desired by the Customer.

Tree Trimming: All tree pruning performed by the Electric Department or contracted personnel shall be performed in accordance with specifications (see Pruning Trees Near Electric Utility Lines by Dr. Alex L. Shigo) approved by the Elizabethton City Council. Every effort shall be made to obtain at least three (3) years clearance on trees near overhead primary lines. Customers may elect at their own expense to arrange for a professional independent contractor to trim or remove trees on their property when said trees will pose a threat to Elizabethton Electric Department overhead power lines.

Five (5) Day Trim Policy: Customers who refuse to grant the Electric Department or it’s representatives permission to trim trees on their property to meet tree trimming clearance requirements will be given notice to hire a contractor (at Customer’s expense) to trim all trees to Electric Department specifications within five (5) business days.

Services, Street and Private Lights

Electric Service: Limbs will be trimmed from the service pole to the structure during routine maintenance only if the integrity of the service is in jeopardy.

Storm Damage: The Electric Department will remove debris from service conductors caused by natural effects (storms, etc.). Disposal of debris shall be the responsibility of the Customer UNLESS trees have been previously identified and marked for trimming or removal by EED AND the property owner has previously given permission for the trees to be trimmed or removed.

Outdoor Lights: Trimming around service connectors for outdoor lights will be performed only if the integrity of the line is in jeopardy and shall not be performed for the purpose of affecting an involved light pattern.

Customer Requests for the Electric Department to Trim Trees

Customer requests to cut or trim trees will be investigated by the Electric Department Right of Way Coordinator or a contract representative. This individual will make the determination when to schedule work and notify the requesting customer accordingly. The Electric Department reserves the right to refuse to cut or trim a tree that, in the opinion of the representative, can be done by someone with reasonable experience without danger to power lines.

Power Lines Off Road: Power lines off the road (back lot) provide one of the biggest challenges in maintenance service. Many Customers have allowed these areas to grow up with underbrush to provide sight or sound barriers. To allow these barriers to exist, the Customer assumes the responsibility of keeping lines clear by trimming the brush to a height of 10 feet. If it is necessary for the Electric Department to clear, the same will be cleared in accordance with Electric Department Routine Maintenance Criteria for tree trimming and tree removal) clearance guidelines.

Emergency Conditions

Service Interference: The first priority in an emergency is to restore service. Any trees that have been determined to be the cause of a service interruption will be cut or trimmed as necessary. The Electric Department is not responsible for the clean-up of any brush or debris caused by natural effects.Line Interference without Interruption: Limbs on service drops do not always result in service interruptions. Where such exist, the Customer will be advised of the condition and a report given to the Electric Department Tree Trimming Coordinator to return, after emergency conditions are over, to remove limbs from service lines.

Trees to Plant Near Power Lines

(Subject to pole and line distance restrictions)

  • American Fringe tree
  • Japanese Flowering Cherry
  • Amur Maple
  • Japanese Maple
  • Blackhawk Viburnum
  • Japanese Snowbell
  • Cherry Laurel
  • Little Gem Magnolia
  • Cherry Plum
  • Nellie R. Stevens Holly
  • Chinese fringetree
  • Northern Bayberry
  • Crabapple Osmanthus
  • Crape Myrtle
  • Redbud
  • Dahoon
  • Saucer Magnolia
  • Dogwood
  • Serviceberry Smoke tree
  • Dr. Kassab Holly
  • Star Magnolia
  • Doublefile Viburnum
  • Sweetbay Magnolia
  • Foster #2 Holly
  • Trident Maple
  • Japanese Apricot
  • Witch-hazel
  • Japanese Dogwood
  • Yaupon

Tree Trimming and Removal Questions & Answers

Who is responsible for trimming and debris removal?

Pole to pole: Elizabethton Electric Department is responsible for maintaining the lines between poles. If you believe that tree limbs, broken branches, or other hazards may cause issues on lines between poles, please contact Elizabethton Electric Department so vegetation management personnel can inspect and assess the situation.

Pole to meter: This is called a service line. It delivers the electricity from Elizabethton Electric Department’s lines directly to your meter. Maintenance of this line is the homeowner’s responsibility.

Drop service request: If you have trees that need to be trimmed near your service line, Elizabethton Electric Department will disconnect the service wire free of charge to allow for safe tree work for you or your contractor. Please call 423-547-8644 to request this service at least 48 hours in advance of tree work. This advance notice will allow us to schedule a crew to drop the service. We request that you, your representative, or your tree contractor be present when your service is disconnected.

Tree Removal: If you would like to remove a tree within 10 feet of a pole to pole line, please contact Elizabethton Electric Department at 423-547-8644 to have it inspected at no charge by an Elizabethton Electric Department vegetation management representative. They can inspect the line and determine if Elizabethton Electric Department needs to trim or remove limbs so you or your contractor can safely remove the tree. The homeowner is responsible for the debris removal.

Debris Removal: Elizabethton Electric Department will chip and remove limbs from routine line clearance work. Larger limbs and tree trunks will be cut into stove manageable lengths and stacked on the property unless property owner contacts Elizabethton Electric Department prior to the trimming to request removal of the logs.

Storm Work: Elizabethton Electric Department does not clean up brush, limbs, or trees from storm related work. Our priority is power restoration to our customers. We will clear all fallen trees and limbs from Elizabethton Electric Department lines in a safe manner to restore service and prevent recurring outages. All logs and limbs are left on site, and crews will not return to remove them.