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 trims or removes trees that are near power lines. We hire trained, professional tree workers who are qualified to work safely near energized power lines.
Where we are trimming now
The map below shows the current areas for tree trimming in orange. Double-click on any of the orange highlighted sections to zoom into the tree-trimming area. This map does not reflect tree-trimming activities around high-voltage power lines.
If you have questions about SRP tree trimming, please contact us at email@example.com or at (602) 236-8888.
Why we trim trees
There are two reasons SRP trims trees:
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 trims 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-trimming program has drastically reduced the number and duration of outages caused by trees.
How we trim trees
SRP will trim or remove trees and vegetation 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.
This pruning service is provided at no cost to the property owner. As consideration for this service, once the trees or brush are pruned, the debris will become the property of SRP.
Currently, SRP crews trim more than 50,000 trees every year. SRP uses a technique called "directional trimming" to train trees to grow away from overhead lines. This technique, recommended as a best management practice by the International Society of Arboriculture, is healthier for trees than "topping" or "rounding" tree growth, limits the need for additional future trimming, and keeps branches a safe distance from power lines.
The amount of trimming varies according to a number of factors, including tree growth rates, location, previous trimming practices and watering method (e.g., irrigation).
Although our approach may not improve tree appearance, we believe it is a reasonable and responsible way to keep people and property safe and electric service reliable.
Removal and recycling
In addition to safety and reliability, SRP is committed to looking after the environment of our region. SRP currently offers near-to-the-ground removal free-of-charge in situations where tree growth is too rapid for periodic trimming. As consideration for this removal service, once the tree is removed, the debris will become the property of SRP.
We recycle most of the tree materials we trim 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.
Please note: after removal of the tree debris, stump removal and grinding is the responsibility of the property owner. SRP may provide growth inhibitor to tree stumps.
Palm tree removal
When palm trees grow within 10 feet of high-voltage lines, they can create hazards and cause power outages in your community during storms and wind events.
While SRP can prune most trees to keep growth away from power lines, pruning is not possible with palms once they are within 10 feet of high-voltage lines. Unlike other trees, palms have a single growing point. Pruning too close to the single growing point or the heart of the palm can kill the palm.
Therefore, when palm trees grow too close to high-voltage lines, we need to remove them altogether.
Overhead power line safety
You should never attempt to trim 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 trim 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 trimming 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.