Right of Way Maintenance

Trees Growing on Power Line Dangers

lineman working on power pole near treeWhen a tree grows into a power line, one of two scenarios may occur.

First, a broken branch could fall onto the line, breaking the electrical wire. This could cause a power outage, sometimes to a wide geographical area and affecting a large number of people. The broken wire (which could still be “live”) could dangle from the utility line, causing a potential hazard to those in the area. If someone touches the line, or even touches the ground around the line, they could be killed instantly or at least severely injured.

Another potential injury could occur if someone tries climbing a tree extending into a power line. The weight of their body may cause a limb to touch the electrical wires, sending electricity from the wire, through the branch, and into the person. The person could be severely injured by the shock, knocked from the tree causing further injury, or killed instantly.

While outages are inconvenient and costly to the Cooperative and its Members, it is the personal injuries that we worry about the most.

Right of Way Tree Trimming Program

To help alleviate these scenarios, the cooperative has implemented a comprehensive tree trimming or right-of-way program.

When possible, branches and limbs are just cut back from the lines, but when offending trees are located within 30 feet on either side of the utility line, Barton County Electric Cooperative (BCEC) prefers to remove the tree to eliminate the hazard completely.

Our goals include:

  • The safety of the member, the linemen, and the right-of-way crews
  • Education of members in the reasoning behind tree trimming
  • To clear and maintain the system on a regular rotation
  • To find the most productive, cost-effective method and system for keeping a clear right of way
  • To leave the members happier than we found them, through complete education, superior trimming services

Reporting a Tree on Power Line

If you would like to report a tree encroaching a power line, you may call our Right-of-Way Manager Todd Suschnick at (417) 681-5023.

Planting Tree Heights

To avoid any trimming at all please check on the size of the canopy spread at maturity! The graphic is provided by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

BCEC does not promote any planting of trees within the right of way. We ask that the shrubs stay away from poles and any underground equipment such as pad mount transformers which includes ornamental grasses. Should any of these trees grow above their normal height and endanger the power line the Cooperative reserves the right to remove the tree.

Typical mature heights in city conditions. Under 20 feet: shrubs, dogwood, flowering plums, hawthorn, sumac, hornbeam, redbud. Under 40 feet: sassafras, post oak, quaking aspen, eastern redcedar, flowering pear. Under 60 feet: pine oak, arborvitae, green ash, hemlock, blue spruce. Under 80 feet: white oak, linden, red oak, tuliptree, walnut, many pines. Under 100 feet: ponderosa pine, redwood, planetree. Check the arborday.org tree guide for expected mature height and crown spread of trees you are considering.