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What you need to know before trimming your trees by power lines

As we approach the summer months where we encounter torrential downpours everyday at around 4 pm, our trees and plants grow to unheard of lengths. When these trees and plants get too close to power lines, they become dangerous. Never attempt to trim them yourself. Call your power company and ask them to trim or remove the vegeatation.  If they refuse, hire an ISA certified arborist who is qualified to work on high voltage power lines. No matter what, always stand at least ten feet away from a powerline according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

What trees should be removed completely if they are located in close proximity to  power lines?

There are certain trees that should be removed  immediately by your power company because of how quickly they grow such as   Australian pines, Melaleuca trees, Brazilian pepper, tree bamboo,  and Ficus trees. Also, palm trees growing underneath or adjacent to  power lines have been designated as critical removal species.

Who is responsible for the overgrowth?

Power companies are responsible for keeping their power lines free and clear of vegetation. Homeowners likewise have a responsibility to prevent their trees from growing into power lines on their property. Tragically, homeowners, tree trimmers and fruit pickers die every year because these companies will not spend the money to do sufficient vegetation trimming and removal to protect people from uninsulated, high voltage power lines.  According to the National Library of Medicine, there are at least 30,000 electric shock incidences per year resulting in just under 1,000 deaths. In fact, in the state of Florida alone, Tampa Bay Times reports over a 13-year period through 2020, Florida Power & Light (FPL) Utility reported 118 deaths from people contacting power lines. That’s more than half of all deaths among other electric companies in the state. FPL says in court filings it does not investigate the accidents to “discern patterns or identify ways to prevent them in the future.”

What should you do when you have trees close to the power lines?

In Florida,  FPL is Florida’s largest utility company servicing almost 5 million customers and over 11 million people, which makes up over 50% of the population. In their guidelines, they are supposed to trim trees around rear yard power lines  on average once every six years. That is an average, so some trees could always be potentially missed. What is a homeowner to do? If you notice sparking or arcing coming from the power lines, call your power company immediately and tell them what is happening. If the power company refuses to come out, keep calling. If these attempt fails, please call us at 239-791-7950, and we will be able to guide you as to what to do next. If you or a loved one is killed or seriously injured as a result of your power company’s filure to maintain the vegetation around its power lines, call us for a free consultation.


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