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Why are we trimming and removing trees?

by Jasmine DeMarcos
May 25, 2017

Safety, Electricity

You might see crews trimming or removing trees and shrubs on behalf of FortisBC, in various communities across BC. 

Why? Some of the trees and other vegetation near our natural gas lines and electric power lines create safety and reliability issues, so we hire skilled contractors to remove vegetation that could be problematic.

Keeping you safe, and maintaining reliable service

Trees growing near power lines can cause outages and start fires, and if they become energized, they can injure or kill people. With gas lines, trees can interfere with routine maintenance surveys and their roots can damage the protective coating on the buried pipe.

When a hazardous tree is identified, our operations team explains the risks to residents and municipalities and brings the tree down safely.  We know how important trees are to our communities—we only remove trees and other vegetation when they pose a safety or reliability risk, or they interfere with the maintenance of our gas and electric systems.

How to prevent problems with trees and other plants on your property:

  • When planting trees or shrubs, call or click before you dig. BC One Call provides the location of underground utility lines. Requests can be made online or by phone at 1-800-474-6886. The service is available 24/7, 365 days a year. 
  • Avoid planting trees or shrubs near gas lines or power lines or within a right of way. Consider the height and root span of the tree when it’s fully grown, before you plant it.  Tree planting within a gas line right of way is not permitted.  Trees planted near power lines will eventually need to be removed or aggressively pruned.
  • Ensure the wires from the street to your house remain clear of vegetation growth. While FortisBC is required to maintain adequate power line clearance by removing or trimming trees that are too close to transmission and distribution power lines, property owners are responsible for maintaining trees near secondary power lines serving their premises. 
  • Never attempt to prune trees near power lines yourself.  Trimming trees around power lines should only be attempted by trained professionals. Serious injuries and even fatalities have occurred when untrained individuals attempt to do this work themselves. When having your trees pruned or removed, you can arrange to have your power temporarily disconnected or wires temporarily removed by calling us at 1-866-436-7847. In most cases, there is no charge for this service.