Trees and Power Lines Frequently Asked Questions
Why does FPL prune trees?
FPL has a preventive maintenance program called line clearing to regularly clear tree branches and limbs from electrical equipment and lines to help improve the overall quality of your electric service. FPL will only prune or trim branches and limbs that can potentially cause safety hazards and power outages by brushing against or falling upon power lines during windy weather.
How much will be cut from my trees?
FPL’s line-clearing program will only target trees and other vegetation that can interfere with or damage power lines and equipment. The amount of pruning varies by tree and location, and our specially trained line-clearing professionals will consider each tree’s species, growth rate, health and the relative location to electrical lines and equipment before pruning. We all appreciate a lush, green community, and we can have it in such a way that minimizes the likelihood that tree branches and limbs will knock down power lines.
Why does my tree have a V-shape following utility pruning and will this affect its stability?
FPL uses a directional pruning method to direct future tree growth away from power lines and help make our electrical system more reliable in the future. This means that only the tree’s interior branches that are growing toward the electrical lines and equipment are removed. Since the roots act as an anchoring system, this will not affect the stability of the tree.
Which pruning guidelines does FPL follow?
FPL follows American National Standard Institute (ANSI) A-300 directional pruning guidelines, which are endorsed by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).
How often is line clearing completed?
We’ve examined our processes and developed a line-clearing schedule that enhances our system’s reliability while focusing our resources efficiently and wisely. On average, the main power lines (feeders) are cleared every three years and the neighborhood power lines (laterals) are cleared every six years. FPL completes the majority of scheduled line clearing before the height of storm season to help minimize the amount of debris that can fly into poles and wires during the windy weather.
Is there a charge for this service?
FPL does not charge for this service since it is our responsibility to protect our lines and equipment. If FPL line-clearing professionals or other associated personnel are requesting compensation, please report the situation to FPL by calling 1-800-226-3545.
Is pruning healthy for the tree?
Any time a tree is wounded, it is placed under stress. FPL uses directional pruning to reduce the stress placed upon a tree. Directional pruning does not interfere with the tree’s ability to seal wounds, allowing the tree’s natural defense system to discourage pests and decay.
When is tree removal the best option?
Some trees require trimming more often than others do to maintain a safe distance from overhead power lines. To help ensure reliable electric service now and in the future, FPL will only remove select trees, palms and other fast-growing vegetation that cannot be managed effectively by pruning or trimming.
Does FPL remove the trimmings/debris from the tree?
When pruning is performed as part of our scheduled line clearing program, all resulting tree debris will be removed.
Following named weather events, our crews must cut away trees and other vegetation that have fallen into power lines, or that are in the way, to find and fix damage safely and as quickly as possible. As our crews move along to restore power, they will leave debris where the tree fell. FPL will clear only the debris that directly affects electrical equipment and power lines or access to FPL equipment. It is the responsibility of the property owner or the local government to remove cuttings and tree debris. Please contact your local government’s waste management office or refuse service provider for information on refuse collection.
How will I know when line-clearing crews will be in my neighborhood?
FPL will send you a letter approximately two weeks before the line clearing begins. If access to your property is required, someone will contact you personally or leave a note with contact information at your door in advance of any work. You may see an increase of trucks and contractor activity as a result of these efforts. However, areas serviced by underground lines may not have visible activity within their vicinity. In these cases, the work takes place outside of neighborhoods where the initial electric service is provided by overhead lines.
Why should I let line-clearing professionals on my property?
Line clearing is not only important, it’s necessary. Scheduled line clearing near power lines and equipment helps ensure safety around electric facilities and minimizes the disruption of service to customers. Your cooperation is valuable in helping prevent outages to you and your neighbors.
How are line-clearing professionals trained?
Line-clearing professionals are qualified through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Only line-clearing professionals that meet the OSHA qualifications can legally work within 10 feet of power lines. Additionally, the line-clearing professionals are trained to prune trees according to American National Standard Institute (ANSI) A-300 standards, which helps preserve the health of your tree.
Will FPL shape my tree or prune other trees while they are here?
FPL’s line-clearing professionals will only trim or prune trees around FPL electrical lines and equipment only. Trees that do not pose concerns to electrical lines and equipment will not be trimmed or pruned. To achieve any additional aesthetic goals, please hire a private contractor after our line-clearing professionals have completed the work.
Can I prune or trim my trees myself, and does this mean FPL will no longer perform the trimming?
FPL encourages customers to maintain their trees before they interfere with electric lines and equipment. You should never attempt to trim any vegetation growing on or near overhead power lines. Only specially trained line-clearing professionals should work around power lines. Check your local listings to locate a contractor qualified to trim vegetation around power lines. Before work begins, be sure to verify that the contractor is licensed and insured, and complies with all applicable laws, codes, ordinances and/or permits.
What kind of trees can I plant near power lines?
First, visit the Right Tree, Right Place section of our Web site to find a list of recommended trees for the space you have available for planting. Next, consider where the tree will be located in relation to the overhead and underground power lines. Then, call 811 or visit www.call811.com at least two days before you dig. This free service will identify if there are any buried wires in the area where you would plant your tree.
A tree is touching the power lines and sparking. What should I do?
If you see a tree touching power lines and sparking or causing another hazardous tree condition, contact FPL immediately at 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) to report the condition. Please do not attempt to trim any trees or vegetation growing on or near power lines. Safety is a core value at FPL, which is why we hire specially trained line-clearing professionals to perform this work.