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Tree maintenance: Whose responsibility is it?

September 16, 2019 | Jodi Baker | reliability, T&D, trees
tree maintenance

Many customers may not realize that OPPD has a Forestry Department, who works to keep trees away from power lines. But the responsibility for maintaining these trees and large shrubs does not automatically fall to the utility.

Utility

OPPD Forester Mike Norris said his team regularly trims trees that are encroaching on power lines or other equipment, or have the potential to do so, about every five to seven years. These maintenance efforts take place within rotations, with crews tackling one circuit area at a time. “That’s key to keeping reliable power flowing to our customers,” he said.

“We will seek removal of some trees, depending on the type of line we’re dealing with, tree species, size, and condition,” he said. “However, trees are not removed without a property owner’s permission.”

In addition, OPPD crews may trim or even remove trees as a result of weather-related damage. Harsh weather conditions like wind, lightning, snow or ice can cause irreparable damage to trees, threatening electrical reliability or safety. That’s when OPPD steps in.

Home or property owners

“Homeowners are responsible for the trimming of trees that are adjacent, or next to, to their service wires, but not in danger of encroaching upon them,” Norris said.

Depending on how close a tree is to service or streetlight wires, customers should call OPPD at 402-536-4131 to request that those wires be temporarily dropped to accommodate safe trimming or removal.

“If a customer decides to trim or remove a tree that’s adjacent to wires which run from pole to pole, OPPD will provide clearance so the customer’s private tree service has safe access,” Norris said. “However, debris would be left on site, and clean-up is the customer’s responsibility.”

Questions

If you have questions, visit oppd.com/trees or submit a request, question or comment online.

You may also call OPPD Forestry at 402-536-4131 and ask for our Forestry team. They can provide guidance or inspect your property to determine the best course of action.

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About Jodi Baker

Jodi Baker writes stories and shoots videos for The Wire. Jodi was a television news reporter before she came to work for OPPD as a media specialist in 2013. Jodi earned her degree in broadcasting from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She's worked for news stations from her hometown of Omaha to sunny San Diego. She’s married with two bright and energetic children (a boy and a girl) and an allergy-ridden little Cairn Terrier. She and her husband enjoy catching up on some grown-up DVR time once the kiddos are asleep.

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