Trees growing under or near power lines are the most common cause of power outages. To ensure reliable and safe power service, FKEC implements a comprehensive vegetation management program trimming approximately 200 miles of power lines a year on a three-year cycle.
If you are currently without power or see a tree touching power lines causing sparking or a hazardous conditions call FKEC immediately at (305) 852-2431 or in an emergency 911.
Tree Trim Requests
NEVER attempt to trim or prune any vegetation near power lines. If you see vegetation that is, or potentially could, interfere with power lines or equipment, file an online Tree Trim Request or call (305) 852-2431. Remember, FKEC is only responsible for trimming vegetation around co-op electrical lines and equipment.
How FKEC Trims Trees
FKEC trims vegetation in the right-of-way (the strip of land managed by the county or city) on a 3-year cycle. Once an area of line is scheduled for maintenance:
- The entire length of the power line is checked for vegetation issues.
- Trees and vegetation in the direct path of the power line and identified as posing an imminent threat to power service are trimmed. FKEC will not trim every tree in close proximity to the line. It is the member-consumer’s responsibility to have any other trees on their property trimmed.
- The co-op’s specially trained tree crews use pruning techniques and arborist cuts to maintain a tree’s healthand encourage growth away from lines.
- Trees in the right-of-way that pose an imminent threat to power service and cannot be successfully groomed away from power lines without dramatically affecting their health are removed when necessary.Trees with high growth rates (particularly certain palms), exotic weed trees, and trees in poor health are prime targets for removal.
- Following any routine tree maintenance all resulting debris is removed.
While only specially trained line-clearing tree crews should work around power equipment, you can do your part to make sure trees and other vegetation do not become an issue by:
- Routinely trimming the trees on your property that are AWAY from power lines. Do not wait for a hurricane or any other major event as the debris from the trimming may become dangerous in high winds.
- Never attempt to trim any vegetation growing near or on any power lines or equipment.
- Plant the right tree in the right place.A tree on your property that can potentially grow to touch or blow into power equipment can impact electrical service not only to your home, but your street or neighborhood. See diagram and tips below.
Tree Planting Guidelines
Planting trees to close to power lines can significantly threaten power service to your home, street, and neighborhood. Be a part of the solution, and plant the right tree in the right place. Please note that any planting to occur off your property on city, county or Department of Transportation Right-of-Way requires proper permitting. Download FKEC’s Proper Planting Guide here, or pick up a copy at an FKEC office.
The Wind Factor
On a calm day, trees planted too close to utility lines may not look like a threat to power service but trees bending in windy weather are a leading cause of power outages.
In higher winds, such as a Category 1 Hurricane, a tree with a 3-5 foot tall trunk will bend laterally by one foot. The taller the tree’s trunk the more potential lateral movement. This is why you must pant trees the proper distance from power lines (see diagram above).
Before Planting Consider
- Rate of growth: Slow growing plants are easier to groom and maintain.
- Mature size: Small, immature trees planted today can grow into problem trees in the future so please consider the ultimate mature size of a tree before planting.
- Canopy size: Large canopy trees grow up and out. Plant these trees away from power equipment.
- Root system: When planting near underground power equipment, use only vegetation with a shallow root system.
- Air Flow: Power equipment needs ventilation to operate properly. Do not plant trees or other vegetation that will obstruct natural airflow around overhead and underground power equipment.
Underground Power Equipment
Even areas served by underground power have some above ground equipment that requires clearance. Utility workers must have proper clearances (10 feet in front and 3 feet on all other sides) to use a “hot stick” to work on padmount transformers (equipment necessary for underground power). See diagram below: