Trees and other vegetation are key contributors to approximately 20-30% of all electric service interruptions. Preventive pruning helps keep trees and power lines a safe distance apart. Areas where line clearance work is completed experience fewer outages and a significant improvement in electric reliability.
Our vegetation management crews are trained in proper arboricultural pruning techniques and take into account the species, growth rate and location of the tree in relation to the overhead wires, as well as the overall health of the tree, site conditions, and regulatory requirements before beginning any trimming project.
Trimming trees near power lines is dangerous. PECO’s contractors are specially trained to work in close proximity to electrical conductors. If you require assistance with trees and vegetation, please submit a
Service Request. Please see
Tree Trimming for additional information.
PECO maintains two distinct types of electric rights-of-way. Electric transmission rights-of-way carry power from power generation stations to substations; electric distribution rights-of-way carry power from substations to customers.
PECO performs routine tree and vegetation maintenance on regular cycles. These cycles are five years in length. PECO also performs some mid-cycle work where trees are especially fast growing, or there are other problems that may result in interruptions to electric service.
The type of tree pruning used by PECO is called directional pruning. This method is designed to encourage the tree to grow away from the electric lines and has been adopted as a national standard (ANSI A300, Part 1) and the International Society of Arboriculture as a Best Management Practice. Directional pruning takes characteristics of each tree into consideration when determining the extent of pruning needed. The pruning clearances to which we hold our contractors are based on the growth rate and mature size and shape of each tree, the location of the tree in relation to the power line, the type of utility facility, and a cycle length of five years.
Shown above, directional pruning guides the growth of the tree away from the wires.
PECO does not practice "topping” or “rounding over” of trees. That method can cause a flush of fast growing sprouts that grow directly back into the wires. To learn more about avoiding and reducing tree and utility conflicts, visit the
International Society of Arboriculture and the
Arbor Day Foundation website.
Powering lives begins with a journey that transports high-voltage electricity from power generation stations, to substations that “step down” the voltage to a level that can be distributed to your home. Transmission rights-of-way (ROW) are typically identified by large steel poles or tower structures that are used to transport high-voltage electricity across large distances. PECO owns or has express property rights to perform vegetation management in transmission ROWs in our service territory and uses a technique called integrated vegetation management. The rights-of-way provide habitat for birds and animals that is otherwise becoming rare in southeast Pennsylvania.
Federal standards mandate that utilities have a transmission vegetation management program to prevent outages on the transmission system. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC.com) strictly enforces these standards. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has specific guidelines and requirements that electric utilities must meet. Visit the FERC website for more information.
PECO does not maintain trees in electric transmission rights-of-way; incompatible or tall growing trees are removed.
It is required that you contact PECO before planting anything other than grass in an electric transmission right-of-way. PECO encourages the establishment of native prairie grasses and flowers in a ROW's Wire and Border Zones.
Putting our energy into the environment
PECO is working to maintain trees impacted by emerald ash borer beetles.
View Program Information (pdf).