Trees & Powerline Safety
Keeping You Safe And The Lights On
Trees growing near power lines can be a safety hazard and are a leading cause of power outages. Power lines are easy to overlook and can pose serious electrical hazards if unnoticed. Strong winds and storms can topple trees or shatter branches that pull down power lines and cause outages. Sometimes, even if heavily damaged, lines remain energized with the potential to electrify trees and nearby objects.
To “cut back” on potential tree-related problems, MEC maintains an aggressive vegetation management/tree trimming policy.
The tree-free zone, referred to as the “Circle of Safety,” is a 15 foot radius around a power pole or conductor. It is the responsibility of the property owner to keep trees from growing near power lines, MEC equipment, easements and right-of-ways before they reach within 15 feet of the centerline, in compliance with MEC’s tree trimming policy.
If you have a tree that appears to be within the “Circle of Safety” or within 15 feet of any ground/underground equipment such as ground transformers, call MEC to send someone out to evaluate the site.
Thank you for your help as we work together to keep a safe, reliable and affordable supply of power flowing to your home or business.
To report trees you think are a problem, call 928-763-4115, and press option 1. Then press option 3.
UNSAFE - Trees within the "Circle of Safety" SAFE - Trees trimmed within the "Circle of Safety"
Safety Tree Trimming Tips
Make sure to always look up and down for nearby overhead/underground power lines or equipment before you cut down tree(s) or trim branches. If a tree falls into a power line, contact MEC.
- Treat all power lines as if they are energized. Never climb or attempt to handle a tree that has a limb caught in a power line.
You may not see any visible evidence that the tree is “electrified” or dangerous.
- Make sure to maintain required clearances between equipment and power lines.
- If a fire starts from a fallen power line, notify the fire department and MEC. Stay away from the site of the electrical hazard. Make sure others stay clear of the line and treat it as if energized.
- Do no use water on or near a fallen power line.
Trimming Future Problems
To prevent future problems when planting trees, bushes or shrubs, look up first to see where overhead power lines may hinder future growth. Remember the legal setback for trees and other plants is the 15 foot “Circle of Safety.”
Many tree varieties can grow 8 to 10 feet per year and will grow to be 15 to 100 feet tall and 30 to 50 feet wide. Choose tree varieties with care and plant with power lines in mind.
With careful planning and regular maintenance, you can help prevent trees and shrubs from growing near power lines, lessening the need for tree trimming. That can save MEC and you, the member, thousands of dollars in unnecessary expense.
Don't Forget Hazards Below
Before starting all digging projects, MEC reminds residents to call 811 and you will be connected with the Arizona 811 call center. Calling before you dig helps prevent injuries, property damage, inconvenient outages and expensive repairs. It’s also the law!
Every digging project – no matter how large or small necessitates a call.
Here are a few examples:
- Installing a mailbox, fence or deck
- Planting a tree
- Repairing or installing a sprinkler system
- Before you put a shovel in the ground
Call 811 or go online to
Arizona 811 before you dig.