A PHI Company

We're connected to you by more than power lines.

Vegetation Management

Frequently Asked Questions

Trees add to the beauty of our community, but trees growing too close to power lines can be dangerous. Tree limbs coming into contact with power lines are major causes of power outages. By pruning trees before outages happen, we can help maintain reliable electric service.

Q | How often do you prune trees?

A | Pepco’s scheduled tree maintenance is based on a two-to-four year cycle, such that half the public-space trees in our District of Columbia and Maryland service area are maintained each year. The types of trees in our area generally need pruning every two to five years. Each tree’s size, shape and growth rate are taken into consideration. Maintenance may include pruning or removing branches that are too close to power lines, or in some cases, removal of entire trees.

Q | How much will you prune from the trees?

A | The amount of pruning varies based on tree type, growth habits, tree health and relative location to the power lines.

Q | What standards do you follow?

A | Pepco’s tree pruning is performed following the standards and practices as outlined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) publication A300. This standard for line clearance is followed by nearly all electric utilities in the United States. Pepco also works with the D.C. Department of Transportation/Urban Forestry Administration to comply with its tree-pruning practices, and with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Q | Can I prune my own trees?

A | Tree pruning near electric power lines can result in severe injury or death. You should not attempt to prune any tree or vegetation growing near or through power lines.

Q | Can Pepco prune a tree on my property?

A | Pepco will investigate requests for removal of tree limbs that may endanger our power lines. Our contractor’s inspectors will explain to the property owner what tree work Pepco will have done.

Q | Can Pepco recommend a company in my area for tree work?

A | Pepco does not recommend specific contractors. Consumers should check to see that the contractor is licensed and insured, and complies with all applicable laws, codes, ordinances and permits including OSHA and ANSI regulations.

Q | Who do I call if I have a complaint or question about tree pruning?

A | If you received a special door hanger notifying you of tree-pruning activity in your neighborhood, you should contact the forestry representative listed on the door hanger. Otherwise, you may contact Pepco at 202-833-7500 and ask to have someone in our forestry department call you.

Q | Will you clean up and remove the debris?

A | When pruning is done as part of our scheduled tree maintenance program, debris will be removed. We will not remove debris from storm-damaged trees.

Q | Are wood chips available to the public?

A | Yes. Call our contractor’s office at 301-595-9077 for information.

Q | Do you have any advice for planting trees under or near power lines?

A | Yes, here are a few things to consider:

Important Notes

Call before you dig - Local laws require homeowners and businesses to call at least two business days in advance to verify the location of underground utility lines. Call your local underground utility locator at 811, or visit www.811.com.

Plant the right tree in the right place - When selecting a tree, consider the ultimate mature height of the tree. Small trees, those less than 25 feet tall, are the only trees that should be considered for under or near power lines. Examples of small trees suitable for our area include dogwood, redbud and flowering cherry. Check with a local nursery for a more complete list, or visit www.nationalarborday.org. This Web site has a wealth of information on trees of all types and inexpensive tree purchasing programs, as well.