Trees and power lines
Properly planted and maintained trees can improve air quality and beautify our community. However, trees placed too close to power lines create fire and safety hazards and cause power outages.
As an Arizona public utility, SRP has an obligation to provide safe and reliable electric service. The state grants us permission and authority to maintain our electric system, which includes clearing trees and other vegetation that may encroach upon our overhead power lines and equipment, and pose a risk to public safety and service reliability.
SRP periodically prunes or removes trees that are near power lines. We hire trained, professional tree pruners who are qualified to work safely near energized power lines.
There are two reasons SRP prunes trees:
See how SRP trims trees away from power lines.
1. To prevent unsafe conditions: SRP is committed to protecting the safety of the public, customers and employees. Trees conduct electricity and create potential safety hazards when branches grow too close to power lines. For example, an unsuspecting child could climb an overgrown tree, come in contact with a live power line and risk electrocution.
We also want to protect our line crews, who are often exposed to dangerous situations when called to repair tree-related damage. To prevent unsafe conditions, SRP periodically prunes trees to maintain proper clearance for overhead power lines.
2. To maintain reliable service: Our primary job at SRP is to provide reliable electric service to homes and businesses throughout our service territory. When tree branches come in contact with power lines, they can cause power outages or fires. That happens most often in windy and stormy weather, especially in the summer months during monsoon season. Since its inception, our tree-pruning program has drastically reduced the number and duration of outages caused by trees.
SRP will prune or remove trees that are growing into or too close to an overhead power line if they are between two power poles. Please note that SRP will not clear vegetation around power lines that run from power poles to homes, businesses or street lights.
Currently, SRP crews prune more than 50,000 trees every year. SRP uses a technique called "directional pruning" to train trees to grow away from overhead lines. This technique, recommended by the National Arborist Association, is healthier for trees than "topping" or "rounding" tree growth, limits the need for additional future pruning, and keeps branches a safe distance from power lines.
The amount of pruning varies according to a number of factors, including tree growth rates, location, previous pruning practices and watering method (e.g., irrigation).
Although directional pruning may not improve tree appearance, we believe it is a reasonable and responsible approach to keeping people and property safe and electric service reliable.
In addition to directional pruning, SRP currently offers near-to-the-ground removal free-of-charge in situations where tree growth is too rapid for periodic pruning. However stump grinding and removal is a property owner responsibility.
In addition to safety and reliability, SRP is committed to looking after the environment of our region. We recycle most of the tree materials we prune or remove. Clippings are chipped and used for mulch.
This recycling effort significantly decreases the amount of waste placed into area landfills and SRP's disposal costs. We also conduct our line-clearing activities in a way that protects wildlife, including endangered species such as the spotted owl.
You should never attempt to prune trees near power lines or hire a tree-trimming contractor to work within 10 feet of energized power lines. Arizona law places restrictions on this work to protect public safety.
If you want to prune near overhead lines that run between a power pole and your home or other structure on your property, please call SRP at (602) 236-8888 to arrange for a temporary disconnection of service. Please call at least a day in advance of the anticipated tree-trimming work and provide us with a daytime phone number. You need to be present when we arrive to disconnect service.*
If you see a tree growing into power lines that are between two power poles and want to have it evaluated for pruning and removal, call (602) 236-8888.
*Tree-trimming-related disconnection requests may need to be rescheduled when emergency situations occur or previously scheduled service orders must be completed.