During storms, trees are the number one cause of power outages in Pepco's service area. Maryland and the District of Columbia Public Service Commissions require that Pepco deliver reliable electric service. That includes keeping trees pruned a safe distance from power lines. Pruning is done for public safety because many power outages are caused when tree branches fall onto power lines. Pepco's tree pruning program consists of four categories:
- Routine pruning
- Storm hardening
To view video segments, see categories below.
The types of trees along our primary distribution lines in residential areas generally need pruning every two to five years. This is routine pruning. Asplundh, our tree pruning contractor, prunes every tree that could potentially come in contact with power lines or other electrical equipment. The goal is to maintain and deliver safe and reliable electric service to our customers by minimizing outages caused by trees. (To see routine pruning in action, watch this video clip.)
Some areas along Pepco’s system are impacted more by storms than other areas. These are areas that have large tree growth well above the electric system and require more than routine pruning. Our storm hardening project focuses on lines most susceptible to damage from trees during a storm to keep them clear of trees that could cause outages.
(To view storm hardening along the system, watch this video clip.)
Maintenance on the system goes beyond routine tree pruning. It includes assisting in the restoration efforts after a storm as well as providing assistance to public and private property owners with the removal of hazardous trees near power lines. (To learn about maintenance, watch this video clip.)
Pepco maintains rights-of-way. These are areas on which power lines run. On all rights-of-way, Pepco generally mows the land beneath the high-voltage lines and from edge to edge of the rights-of-way every four to five years to prevent trees and other vegetation from growing up into the high-voltage transmission and distribution lines. (To get a closer look at high-voltage lines along the system, click here.)