New Vegetation Management Regulations
To increase reliability, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) has adopted new vegetation management regulations that require utilities to be more comprehensive in their tree pruning around electric facilities including power lines, poles, transformers, substations and rights of way.
The new standards, which went into effect May 28, were developed by a panel that included representatives from power utilities serving customers in Maryland, including Pepco; the PSC; the Office of People's Counsel, Montgomery County; and consumer advocacy groups.
Pepco immediately began complying with the new regulations, which include pruning to a four-year growth beside and under most power lines. High-voltage lines will require clearances of 15 feet below and beside lines and "blue sky" clearance above.
The state requires the removal of trees when more than 25 percent of the tree canopy must be pruned. Trees on private property are not removed without the written approval of the property owner; trees on rights of way are not removed without permission from the property owner and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Under the regulation, Pepco is required to notify owners or occupants at least seven and no more than 120 days before work will begin on their property.