Trees are important for many reasons. Not only do they provide oxygen for us to breathe, they also offer protection from the summer sun and the winter wind. They provide habitat for many species of animals and give children a place to play. However, trees and utility lines do not mix.

Right-of-way maintenance is an important aspect of Powell Valley Electric Co-op’s mission to provide our members with safe, reliable, and affordable energy.

We maintain a comprehensive right-of-way maintenance program for three reasons.


Trees near power lines pose a threat to your home, your electric service, and your health.

When trees contact high voltage lines and the right conditions are present, they may become conductors, carrying deadly electricity within the reach of your family and pets.

System Reliability

Four of every ten power outages on PVEC’s system are the result of trees and other vegetation coming in contact with our lines. These outages are costly and inconvenient. And because our distribution lines are a part of a larger system, the trees on your property may create problems for hundreds or even thousands of people.

Economic Responsibility

Aside from safety and system reliability, PVEC has a financial responsibility to our members to weigh the financial impact of our right-of-way maintenance program. The return on the money we spend to control vegetation is significant. Our trimming and spraying programs help control line-loss and outage management expenses. These savings help to keep rates low for our members.

Right-of-way Maintenance Program

PVEC maintains a comprehensive right-of-way maintenance program to control growth in proximity of our lines and equipment. Our tree trimmers are in your area once every other year to maintain the right-of-way. National Electric Safety Code (NESC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require electric utilities to clear vegetation from power lines as a safety measure for our members and our employees.  The Cooperative’s standard right-of-way widths are 100 feet for transmission lines (lines greater than 26 kV) and 40 feet for overhead primary distribution lines (lines having voltages of 7.2 kV to 26 kV).

Removing Brush

PVEC’s right-of-way contract crews utilize herbicides to control the growth of brush below lines. Special care is taken to select EPA approved herbicides. The herbicides remove woody-stemmed vegetation and allow natural grasses to flourish.

Before You Plant

Before you plant, take into account the estimated size of your tree at maturity and ensure that the dripline (outside reach of the branches) is 20 feet away from the powerlines. When planting near a utility meter, make sure it remains accessible to PVEC employees.

Opt Out Policy

PVEC has a right-of-way opt-out policy for property owners.