Power lines that run down the city and neighborhood streets are called distribution lines. Tree limbs that come in contact with power lines are a major cause of electrical outages, and limbs that touch electric power lines can become energized or even break and fall, bringing the lines down with them. To reduce outages caused by tree contact, we prune trees away from our power lines on a planned cycle. Keeping power lines clear of limbs and brush also provides easier access to our lines, which means quicker restoration of power during storms or other times of trouble. When pruning trees, we complete the entire line and do not schedule individual pruning requests.
Georgia Power prunes trees to industry standards that were developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). These methods involve pruning lateral branches and directional trimming to remove limbs at strong branches or at the tree trunk. By making the proper cuts, we do not interfere with the tree's natural defense mechanisms that protect it from decay. This method of pruning also removes branches at their natural shedding points, which reduces re-growth.
A major factor in restoring power quickly during emergency situations is clear access to our rights-of-way. We keep weeds and brush below a height that would hamper visibility or hinder access along the right-of-way. Maintenance involves selectively applying commonly used herbicides to non-desirable species on the right-of-way, making way for the growth of grasses and other herbaceous plants. We use only non-restricted use products approved by the EPA and applied under the direction of licensed herbicide applicators. Our integrated vegetation management approach helps to promote and establish a stable, diverse, low-growing plant community on the right-of-way, which reduces the potential for soil erosion and is also extremely beneficial for wildlife.
Download a map for information on Georgia Power’s regional distribution arborists and their contact information.
Power lines are a vital part of the electrical transmission and distribution system. They can also be dangerous. Follow these tips and basic rules to stay safe when working near power lines.Learn More