CDE Lightband - Clarksville Department of Electricity – Clarksville, TN

Why is it necessary?

CDE trims trees in the vicinity of power lines on a periodic basis to maintain the reliability of your electric service and reduce outages. The safety factor for the general public is also increased by maintaining the proper clearance between electrical lines and trees. Open, visible power lines help protect our workers, contractors and the public working near these lines by avoiding accidental contact. High winds, ice and decay are a few of the causes than can lead to fallen limbs which may damage power lines and result in long outages while costly repairs are made. In the event repairs to electric lines are necessary, having open, visible lines help to expedite this work and shorten the length of time power may be interrupted.

Can CDE legally trim trees?

Yes. The purpose of tree trimming is to maintain a reliable electric system, reduce tree-related outages and ensure public safety. CDE has the right and the obligation to our customers to maintain any and all vegetation within its easements for these purposes. The court and legal system strongly support utilities’ rights to trim and remove trees or brush within and outside easements or right-of-ways for this purpose. The Schedule of Rules and Regulations, which are an integral component of the TVA-approved rate schedule for CDE, provides that CDE shall have access to customers’ premises for the purpose of maintaining any or all equipment belonging to CDE, which includes tree trimming activities.

What method of trimming does CDE use?

CDE utilizes the lateral pruning method developed by the International Society of Arboriculture and recommended by the Clarksville Tree Board. Lateral (directional) trimming involves cutting branches back to the trunk or major limbs. This minimizes re-growth in the direction of the electric lines, thus requiring less trimming to the tree in subsequent years. The size of the branches cut in lateral trimming may be larger than those common with topping or rounding, but fewer cuts minimize the tree’s susceptibility to decay, disease and insects. Initially the appearance may seem drastically different, but in most cases, a few months of re-growth improves the appearance.

Who cleans up debris?

Limbs, brush and other plant growth near electric lines and equipment will be trimmed to restore proper electrical clearances. CDE will clean up brush or limbs left in a customers yard from our routine/scheduled trimming as soon as possible. We make every effort to minimize any disturbance to customers’ property during this work. Any wood from the trimming may be left for the owner at his request.

What about storm damage?

Regardless of how aggressive a utility’s tree trimming program may be, storm damage related to trees and limbs will still occur. CDE will clear storm-damaged trees from our electric and fiber optic lines in order to restore service or allow reasonable access for emergency service restoration. The clean-up of storm debris removed from CDE’s lines and facilities or to provide emergency access will be the responsibility of the owner of the tree(s).

Will CDE remove trees if necessary?

There are some trees growing underneath or too close to electric lines that cannot be properly trimmed to maintain an acceptable appearance. There are others that may be decaying, dying or storm-damaged that have a high probability of falling onto high voltage electric lines or other critical components of the electric distribution system. In these cases, CDE will remove the tree in question. CDE will not remove trees that threaten service lines that connect to a home or building, but will make arrangements to remove any CDE-owned lines connected to the house or building so the owner may remove the tree himself. There is no charge for this service during CDE’s regular work hours.

What are the proper clearances?

In general, CDE will endeavor to obtain a minimum of 10′ clearance from our 13,000 volt lines when trimming trees to allow 3 to 4 years of growth before it becomes necessary to trim again. Some faster growing species may require more initial clearance in order to extend the trim cycle. Limbs may be cut further from the lines to comply with lateral pruning methods. Overhanging limbs will be cut as high as possible above the lines, and every effort made to remove weak, diseased, or dead limbs above the lines.

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