How trimming or removing trees protects you and your power

December 17, 2018

A worker in a bucket truck trimming trees near a powerline.

Updated: May 3, 2023

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

Why? Because public safety is a top priority at FortisBC. Trees and other vegetation near our equipment or infrastructure can be a significant safety concern and can result in outages for our customers. For the safety of the public, we hire skilled contractors to proactively trim or remove trees and other vegetation before they become a concern.

Trimming or removing trees to keep you safe, and keep the energy flowing

Trees growing near power lines can cause outages, create sparks and, if they become energized, can pose a serious safety hazard. With natural gas lines, trees can interfere with routine maintenance surveys and their roots can damage the protective coating on the buried lines.

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 natural gas and electric systems

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

1. When planting trees or shrubs, click or call before you dig.

BC 1 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.

2. 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. Review the safe planting guidelines to ensure you’re planting a safe distance away from natural gas lines, power lines and electrical equipment, including padmounted transformers.

3. Ensure the wires from the street to your house remain clear of vegetation.

While we are 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 service lines serving their premises.

4. 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. An important part of our tree clearing maintenance program is arranging to have your power temporarily disconnected when having your trees or shrubs pruned or removed around electrified equipment serving your premises. You can call us at 1-866-436-7847 to schedule an appointment. In most cases, there is no charge for this service.

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