CEC must address trees that pose safety and reliability issues before they cause injury or power outages. Trees with branches that could come into contact with power lines on windy days or trees which could fall into our lines during high winds all must be reviewed.
CEC uses pruning techniques that meet the American National Standards A300 Pruning Standards. These techniques utilize "natural, lateral, or directional" pruning methods. Branches that conflict with power lines are cut back to laterals directed away from the lines. When trees can not be pruned properly, removal is the only option.
When potential problems are found, planning is done and a bright yellow door hanger is left on our members' front doors informing them that tree contractors will be in the area to remove or trim problem trees. This door hanger provides information on our vegetation management program as well as contact information for CEC.
Safety and reliability of electric services is our top priority.
The pictures at right are examples of the trimming techniques used by CEC:
Look Up Before Building or Planting
When determining the location for a building (e.g., a home, cabin, garage or any type of structure), be sure to pay attention to what is around, especially overhead power lines. Safety to life and property requires sufficient spacing from power lines. The required distance is provided in the right-of-way easement for your property.
Different types of power lines require various easement widths (see Figure A below), and sometimes different structures (such as grain bins) require even more consideration before placement. If you have any questions about the placement of a building and an existing or required easement, please call CEC before construction begins. We will be happy to review the project before time and expenses are incurred.
Trees on or near the right-of-way endanger the electrical system and could cause outages. As mentioned above, these trees are removed and/or trimmed on a cyclical basis. Planting trees within our easement is prohibited. Yard trees located within our easement that require regular trimming are eligible to be removed in exchange for a replacement tree to be planted away from our lines.
The easement widths listed in Figure A are dimensions that must be observed when planning your facilities. The pole line is located in the center of the easement. Under no circumstance should buildings be located on the easement.
When there is a conflict or question pertaining to power lines, please contact CEC. A response and review should be performed prior to construction.
|Type of Electric Line||Easement Width|
|Transmission (cross country long span)||100 feet|
|Transmission (urban short span)||50 feet|
|Distribution Overhead (single phase or three phase)||30 feet|
|Distribution Underground (single phase or three phase)||15 feet|
Landscaping for Energy Efficiency
Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of a household's energy consumption for heating and cooling. Computer models devised by the U.S. Department of Energy predict that the proper placement of only three trees will save an average household between $100 and $250 in energy costs annually. On average, a well-designed landscape provides enough energy savings to return your initial investment in less than 8 years.
Example #1 - When deciduous trees are planted on the east, west and south sides of a house, their full canopies of leaves can shade your home from the hot summer sun and cut air conditioning costs by 20%-40%. While shades and drapes can also be used for this purpose, shade trees have been shown to be seven times more effective. During the winter, the bare branches of these trees allow sunlight to filter through to your home, so you can take advantage of some natural solar heating.
Deciduous vines are woody plants that absorb and reflect the sun’s rays in the summer, helping to keep heat out of your home. They lose their leaves in the fall, allowing sunlight to warm a home during the winter months. You can plant deciduous vines on trellises to shade walls and windows on the south side of your home, or train the vines to grow directly on outside walls. Keep in mind that some types of deciduous vines such as Boston ivy and Virginia creeper may be damaging to wood siding but not to brick or stone walls. Also keep in mind that some vines grow very quickly and require substantial pruning to keep them under control.
Example #2 - Cold winds from the northwest can cause large amounts of heat to be lost from your home during the winter, especially if your home is located on a large open piece of property. Evergreens can create a windbreak to change the force and direction of the wind away from your home, reducing heat loss and helping you save 20% or more on your winter fueling costs. To create an effective windbreak, evergreens should be planted to the northwest, with the ends of the windbreak extending well beyond 50 feet on both sides if possible.
Example #3 - Shrubs can be used to minimize the loss of cool air away from the house in the summertime, as well as provide some additional protection from the wind during the winter. When you plant dense evergreen shrubs 4 to 5 feet away from a foundation wall, they will shield it from the wind and create a dead air space between the wall and the plants creating some natural insulation. The same shrubs can also be used to shade outdoor air conditioning units. An air conditioning unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10 percent less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.