Outdoor Safety

Tree Trimming FAQ

Can I get wood chips?

Yes. Our contractors are always looking for customers to accept wood chips. This is an environmentally friendly way to dispose of the wood chips. Wood chips make great mulch, keep weeds down and keep trees moist. Please call 543-7836 if you are interested in this service. A load of chips is about 10 cubic yards of mixed tree material.

When will the tree crews be in my neighborhood?

Click here for the current tree trimming schedule.

What preparations should I make before the tree crew arrives?

  • Move vehicles and lawn or garden equipment from the area where the trees are to be pruned.
  • Unlock your gate when you know the crews are in the area.
  • Make sure animals are leashed or secured.
  • Discuss tree pruning or removal options with the inspector. Work with the inspector to discuss directional pruning.

What else can I do to help?

The inspectors and tree trimmers appreciate your cooperation and will try to answer your questions the best they can.

Which overhead power lines are you trying to protect with vegetation pruning?

Typically, we clear high-voltage overhead power lines of vegetation only. These are the lines in the highest position on power poles. The words "High Voltage" are marked on poles or cross-arms with high voltage lines. We prune secondary lines (those below the transformer) only if the lines are strained or rubbing the tree.

Why would Hawaiian Electric trim my trees and not my neighbor's tree?

When our inspection staff identifies tree pruning or pole clearing work to be done on your property, you may be notified. Your permission is not required, because state law mandates that we maintain our lines and keep them hazard free.

A tree is growing into my service drop. Isn't this a hazard?

The service drop is the electrical line that runs from the utility pole to your home or business and is typically not high voltage. This line only serves you and is not typically pruned by Hawaiian Electric. If you think tree branches are straining or abrading your service drop, call 543-7836 or hire a line clearance tree contractor.  Be careful clearing trees near service drops, because, although the lines may be low voltage, an electrical contact could result in injury or death.

Do I have to give Hawaiian Electric or its contractor workers permission to trim?

When our inspection staff identifies tree pruning or pole clearing work to be done on your property, you may be notified. Your permission is not required, because state law mandates that we maintain our lines and keep them hazard free.

Aren't you trespassing if you come onto my property?

The utility is legally required to maintain its facilities. 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.

What is a Line-Clearance Qualified tree trimming contractor?

A Line-Clearance Qualified tree trimming contractor is a company that has an ongoing line-clearance safety program as defined by the federal and state Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This program must include ongoing training, equipment maintenance and inspection programs to ensure tools are non-conductive for workers who routinely work near high-voltage power lines.

How do I hire a Line Clearance Qualified (LCQ) tree trimming contractor?

The following LCQ contractors may be available for hire on Oahu.  Please contact them directly to discuss the work:

Asplundh Tree Expert Co. - (808) 254-1322
The Davey Tree Surgery Company - (808) 845-0945
Trees of Hawaii - (808) 842-0474

The above list of LCQ tree trimming contractors is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute an endorsement of any specific contractor. Hawaiian Electric and its affiliate companies are in no way associated with any of the above contractors. Hawaiian Electric has no control over third party tree trimming services and Hawaiian Electric does not guarantee the fitness or quality of any work performed by any of the above listed LCQ contractors, and we do recommend that customers obtain written quotes from licensed and insured LCQ contractors for any tree trimming work performed near power lines.

Why did I receive this line clearance refusal letter when I did not refuse the tree work?

At the time of pruning for the overhead electrical conductors our contract tree crews are required to attain sufficient clearance to last through the next routine prune. Your refusal to allow us to achieve a sufficient clearance to maintain compliance will jeopardize public safety and electric reliability. Additionally, if a customer does not allow access to our tree crews for this required work, we consider that a refusal.

Why did I receive a Hire Your Own Tree Contractor letter when I did not refuse the tree work?

Someone at your property indicated that they would rather hire their own contractor to perform the tree clearance work. Additionally, If a customer does not allow access to our tree crews for this required work, we consider that a refusal. The letter was sent to express our concerns and explain the dangers and liability of hiring your own contractor. Additionally, if a customer does not allow access to our tree crews for this required work, we consider that a refusal.

Why did I receive a letter about my Palm tree?

While we can frequently prune trees to re-direct growth away from the power lines, this is not possible with Palm trees once they are within 10 feet of the high voltage lines. Palm trees within 10 feet can be a frequent source of outages in your community during storms and wind events. Our arborists have determined that the pruning required will be below the center initiating growth and the palm will probably die.

We offer two options for our customers when palms are within 10 feet of the high voltage lines:

  • Hawaiian Electric will remove the tree as close to the ground as practical. The stump will not be ground.
  • Hawaiian Electric will prune or top the palm tree (leaving the wood at the site) to make it safe for your contractor to complete the removal.

A palm may be moved by the owner before it is with-in 10ft of the high voltage power lines.