What is Atlantic City Electric's objective to repeatedly pruning trees?
Atlantic City Electric is committed to providing customers with reliable electric service. Tree branches that contact power lines can cause interruptions to power supply. These interruptions, aside from being inconvenient, also pose a threat to public health and safety. For example, power supply interruptions affect those on life support, and may disrupt schools, hospitals, traffic signals, and sewer and water pumping facilities.
Vegetation Management's program is designed to minimize such service interruptions by clearing limbs, trees, vines, and other vegetation away from power lines. By doing this before the vegetation has a chance to cause power supply interruptions, we can help assure you reliable electric service.
Why don't you consider aesthetics when pruning trees?
Atlantic City Electric follows the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard A300, part 1, when pruning trees. Several factors are considered when pruning a tree for line clearance. The following is a prioritized list of the factors considered when performing utility line clearance work:
Service reliability to Atlantic City Electric customers.
Use of correct pruning techniques (ANSI Standards).
Type of Atlantic City Electric facility and construction.
Can you prune my tree lightly?
In general, smaller or slower growing trees will require less pruning than faster of taller growing trees. Atlantic City Electric encourages customers to “Plant the Right Tree in the Right Place”, to minimize conflicts with electrical facilities. The amount of pruning required for line clearance depends on several factors:
Growth rate characteristics of the species (how fast new branches will grow back).Flexibility of the branch nearest the wire (how much the branch will sway in the wind)Voltage carried by the line (the hazard presented by branch contact).
Does Atlantic City Electric maintain vegetation for telephone and cable television lines?
No. However, you can contact your local communication provider for further information.
What qualifications do you have to prune trees?
Atlantic City Electric vegetation management crews are specially trained, according to OSHA Regulations and ANSI Standards, in order to safely work on trees close to electrical conductors.
Atlantic City Electric also requires that line clearance specialists be trained in proper arboricultural pruning techniques, which follow the professional standards (ANSI Standard A300, part 1), and the best management practices published by the International Society of Arboriculture.
Is there an alternative to repeated tree pruning, which sometimes results in a disfigured appearance?
Yes. The property owner may want to have trees removed to avoid the need for future periodic pruning. Small "volunteer" trees or trees inappropriately planted too close to lines are good candidates for removal. Atlantic City Electric will be happy to review possible candidates on a case by case basis.
Do you paint open pruning cuts?
Atlantic City Electric's contract crews do not use commercial tree paint products because these are no longer recommended in the arboriculture industry. The latest research indicates that such dressings are primarily cosmetic and do not stop decay.
Why do you prune the trees back so far?
Atlantic City Electric's vegetation management program is designed to minimize interruptions to electrical supply. The closer a tree grows to a high voltage line, the greater amount of pruning required to maintain a minimum clearance between the tree and the power wires. The amount of pruning required varies based on line voltage, line construction, and tree species.
Will pruning hurt my tree?
Atlantic City Electric uses only professional contractors and requires that they follow American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard A300 for tree pruning. These pruning techniques minimize the potential damage caused to trees. Pruning of trees in rights-of-ways is done not only by utilities, but also by municipalities and highway departments to maintain roadway clearance, sidewalk clearance, visibility of road signs, traffic lights, etc.
What measures do you follow to protect a tree's health?
Any tree-pruning program, including those carried out by utilities, municipalities, or homeowners, should follow the same basic principles. Atlantic City Electric's vegetation management contractors adhere to the following practices that are contained in ANSI Standard A300:
Removed branches are cut as close as possible to the branch collar without injury or removal of the collar, which is called Natural Target Pruning. This procedure helps promote wound closure and reduce chances for decay.
Whenever possible, branches are cut back properly using the 1/3 rule: the branch is cut back to another branch that is at least 1/3 the diameter of the limb to which it is attached.
Limbs that grow away from the wires are retained, allowing the outside portion of the tree to develop its natural shape. This is known as directional method of line clearance.
Tree topping and shearing is avoided. Shearing detracts from the natural appearance and promotes decay in branches and the growth of weak, fast-growing water sprouts or sucker growth. These sprouts grow back more quickly and require more frequent pruning.
Why can't I prune my own tree or have a private contractor prune it?
The pruning of trees near electrical wires can result in injury or death. Only persons trained and qualified in the special techniques needed to work safely around energized lines should do so.
Why doesn't Atlantic City Electric put the lines underground?
Since 1984, Atlantic City Electric has and continues to install lines underground in new construction developments. Despite being extremely expensive, and sometimes costing several times more than overhead construction, an underground line is not problem-free for trees. During construction tree roots may be cut. Cutting tree roots can lead to tree decline or death or may cause a tree to uproot in high winds. Future maintenance of underground lines may also cause damage to existing tree roots, landscape plantings, and lawns.
Are the herbicides that Atlantic City Electric uses safe?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves these products for use only after determining they will not adversely affect people, animals, or the environment when applied correctly.
Does Atlantic City Electric Plant Trees?
Atlantic City Electric participates in National Arbor Day tree planting events each year.
How do trees affect electric service to customers?
The majority of outages
during inclement weather are caused by falling or damaged trees. Limbs,
branches, weak or diseased trees can bring down wires if they fall in any kind
of weather. In fact, trees and falling limbs are the top causes of unscheduled
outages on clear days as well. Electrical service can be interrupted for
thousands of customers due to a fallen limb that damages a power line. An
effective, responsible tree maintenance program is critical to our successful
and safe delivery of electric service. The tree trimming and removal work we
perform is required by regulations that mandate minimum clearances between
trees and power lines.
What safety issues arise from trees near power lines?
We implement our tree
maintenance program because safety is one of our top priorities. When trees
come in contact with a high voltage power line, they can also become energized
which could potentially result in sparks or fires that could cause harm to
nearby people, animals, homes or buildings. Our tree maintenance program reduces
risk and minimizes outages caused by falling trees, branches or limbs, and
improves the reliability and safety of your electric service. By trimming and
removing trees around feeders, we can reduce the chances of trees, branches or limbs
falling on power lines.
Why are small trees removed that are not close to touching transmission lines?
It depends on the type of
trees but some species can grow up to eight to ten feet in a year. It is
important to proactively remove them before they cause damage to the system or
a safety risk. Certified arborists review each tree to determine what action,
if any, is necessary.
Are industry or legal standards followed?
The tree maintenance
program we perform complies with regulations set by the New Jersey Board of
Public Utilities. Our tree pruning is performed in accordance with the
standards and practices outlined by the American National Standards Institute
(ANSI) Publication A300. This standard for line clearance is followed by nearly
all electric utilities in the United States.
What regulatory body oversees each utility’s tree maintenance program?
The Board of Public
Utilities for the State of New Jersey oversees our tree maintenance work.
How often will trees on my property be trimmed or removed?
Our scheduled tree
maintenance is based on a four-year cycle and complies with New Jersey
regulations. Each tree’s size, shape and growth rate are taken into
consideration in our tree maintenance program. Maintenance may include pruning
or removing branches that are too close to power lines, or in some cases, removal
of entire trees.
How much will be pruned from trees?
The amount of pruning varies based on a tree's relative location to the power lines as well as the type, growth habits and health of the tree. The following diagrams illustrate examples of minimum tree clearance required for certain facilities.
How often is tree work performed?
Our tree maintenance
program is consistent with electric utility best practices and complies with
national tree care industry and utility vegetation management standards. The
Board of Public Utilities for the State of New Jersey specifically mandates
that we inspect our energized facilities for tree clearance issues and trim as
necessary every four years. Our tree maintenance contractor trims, and in some
cases removes, trees that could potentially come in contact with power lines or
other electrical equipment. Certified arborists evaluate tree growth around
each pole in order to create an effective work plan for tree crews. They look
for trees and vines that could eventually develop a conflict with the electric
equipment. They also look for dead, dying or hazardous trees and tree
conditions that could interfere with power lines and cause power outages.
Customers will receive at
least one form of notification depending on the scope of the work.
Notifications vary and could include letters, door hangers and knocks on the door.
If a tree poses an imminent safety hazard or impact to the reliability of the
electrical system, we will take reasonable steps to obtain consent from the
owner or occupant of the property before any trimming or tree removal work is
done. The safety of our customers and employees are most important.
Each tree is examined
individually by certified arborists and the determination is made based on a
variety of factors including the species, type of energized facility, the
direction branches are growing and how much of the tree must be pruned. If it
is necessary to trim more than 25 percent of a tree, the standard practice is
to remove the entire tree.
Are industry or legal standards followed?
Our tree pruning is
performed adhering the standards and practices outlined by the American
National Standards Institute (ANSI) Publication A300. This standard for line
clearance is followed by nearly all electric utilities in the United States.
Who performs the company’s tree work?
We have a large staff of
trained foresters and certified arborists who oversee the work of our tree
maintenance contractors. Our tree maintenance contractors are required to
adhere to tree care standards established by American National Standards
Institute (ANSI) A-300. Our methodologies are based on Best Management
Practices (BMPs) established by the International Society of Arboriculture
(ISA). Utility vegetation management arborists are required to abide by Safety
Standards set in ANSI Z133 and they are regulated by the Occupational Safety
& Health Administration (OSHA).
Do you always remove tree debris when you prune?
Our contractors will remove
tree limbs and debris during tree maintenance work. We are not responsible for
removing trees, branches or limbs that fall or damage our power lines from
events beyond our work or from storms.
Will new trees be planted in the right-of-way to replace ones that are removed?
Not usually. There are
times when we do plant trees in the right-of-way. Sometimes it is the result of
a permit requirement and other times it is at the request of local Shade Tree
Commission or State Agency.
What is an easement?
According to Black’s Law
Dictionary, an easement is a right of use over the property of another.
Can I choose to not permit trimming or removal of trees on my property?
We will make all reasonable efforts to work with you before trimming or removing trees on your property and/or our easement. An effective tree maintenance program is critical to our safe and reliable delivery of your electric service. We prune and remove trees that will grow into or interfere with electric wires and other equipment.
Isn’t the tree in front of my house my property?
Sometimes trees that appear to be on a customer's property could be in the public utility easement or public right-of-way. If a tree is in the public right-of-way, we work with the owner of that right-of-way to trim or remove the tree. If a tree on private property needs to be removed, the property owner's permission must be obtained, unless we have pre-existing rights to remove the tree. We will trim trees on private property where tree limbs or branches could threaten the safety and reliability of the system.
What are my rights when trees need to be trimmed or removed from my property?
If a tree on private
property needs to be removed, the property owner’s permission must be obtained
unless we have pre-existing rights that give us rights to maintain those
properties and keep them clear of trees and vegetation that could threaten the
safety and reliability of the system. We will trim trees on private property
where tree limbs or branches could threaten the safety and reliability of the
system. Please call 1-800-642-3780 if you have additional questions
Can I request tree work on my property that threatens power lines?
We will investigate requests for removal of tree limbs that may endanger our power lines. Our contractor's inspectors will explain to the property owner what tree work needs to be trimmed or removed. Please call 1-800-642-3780 with any questions or concerns.