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Hawaiian Electric Company Vegetation Mgmt Program Ph: (808) 543-7836
Tree Trimming Safety
In Hawaii, we are blessed with a variety of beautiful trees. From stately hard woods like Koa, to bountiful fruit bearing trees such as banana and citrus. They add lush greenery to our island home. When tree limbs grow into power lines they can cause an electrical outage. In windy weather, unattached tree limbs can be blown onto the power lines creating problems.
When working on trees that are near power lines, a ten-foot minimum clearance from the lines is required for safety purposes. (OSHA 1910.269). When setting up ladders and other equipment, everything should be secured so that nothing is in or can accidentally enter this safety zone.
Tree Trimming Safety
Please remember these important tips when trimming your trees:
- It is your responsibility to inspect and, if necessary, hire certified tree trimmers to trim trees on your property that are in contact with or in close proximity to the service line that delivers power to your property.
- Damage to the service line caused by your trees and damage to equipment in your home caused by trees affecting your service line are also your responsibility.
- Only professionally trained and certified individuals should trim trees that are touching or in close proximity to power lines. Upon request, Hawaiian Electric staff can assist by de-energizing and lowering your service line.
- For your safety please call us at 543-7836 before conducting any kind of work on trees that are near overhead lines. We will inspect the lines and will help determine the best course of action.
- When working on trees that are near power lines, a ten-foot minimum clearance from the lines is required for safety (OSHA 1910.269). When setting up ladders and other equipment, everything should be secured so that nothing is in or can accidentally enter this safety zone.
- We are legally required to maintain our facilities and equipment. Utility easements and rights of ways are often conveyed in the deed to a property. In addition, as a condition of electric service to your home, you must allow Hawaiian Electric access to your property for maintenance at all reasonable times. Therefore, we have the right to access our facilities, as necessary, to properly maintain our facilities. If you have questions, call 543-7836.
Vegetation Management Program
Vegetation management is one of many efforts Hawaiian Electric uses to help ensure the reliability of your electrical service. We regularly inspect trees growing near power lines and contract certified vegetation management crews to trim trees growing into power lines along roadways throughout the island.
How Hawaiian Electric trims trees
Trees that require pruning are those that currently, or will within a year, encroach on high-voltage power lines. Tree inspectors assess the location of trees and their growth rate. In addition, we take into consideration limb configuration and potential wind conditions. If you believe that a tree poses a danger to lines, please call 543-7836 or email us at TrimRequest@hawaiianelectric.com to arrange an inspection.
After a thorough inspection, a qualified utility forester prescribes the amount and type of pruning necessary, based on:
- Tree growth and structure
- Wind sway
- Line sag
- Species of tree
- Environmental factors
- Proximity of the tree to a line and line configuration.
We will also always include a reasonable margin of safety above the absolute-minimum clearance requirements.
Tips on Tree Selection and Care
Planting the Right Tree in the Right Place
Too often, we take trees for granted by not properly planning and planting in the right place. Selecting the right tree for the right place will help you get the long-term benefits, beauty, and satisfaction from the trees you plant.
Trees may be the most important feature of our landscapes. They provide beauty and enjoyment through their many forms, colors, flowers, and fruits.
Along with the shade and beauty they provide are the many less visible benefits that make trees valuable assets. They enhance our environment by producing oxygen, storing carbon, cooling streets, preventing erosion, and filtering noise and pollutants. They can block wind and screen undesirable views. Attractive trees and landscaping add to a property's real estate value.
Perhaps the most impressive benefit of trees is the dollars saved on utility bills. Research has shown that properly located trees can reduce air conditioning costs in homes and office buildings by 30 percent or more.
Hawaiian Electric partners with the Kaulunani Urban Forestry Program to provide free tips and advice about proper tree selection, placement, planting, care, and trimming. For more information, please see our Planting the Right Tree in the Right Place brochure (pdf).