Vegetation Management


Vegetation Management is a critical, yet somewhat behind the scenes department of an electric utility.  Unless tree work is being done in your neighborhood or backyard, it goes largely unnoticed. Inspecting, pruning, and removing trees, branches, and other vegetation to maintain power line clearance is essential to safe operations. Trees can also cause power outages when branches contact power lines, break and fall on lines, or when trees are blown over on to power lines during storms.

Liberty employs International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborists to manage our vegetation management program.  ISA Certified Arborists must demonstrate a high level of knowledge and experience to gain certification, and are required to maintain certification through continuing education in the science and best practices of proper tree care. Our arborists love what they do and their high quality work contributes significantly to providing reliable electric service.

When trees are identified for trimming, crews are instructed to prune branches and vegetation back to a minimum of 12 feet from the high voltage power lines to maintain adequate clearance. Additionally, trees that are dead, diseased or structurally unsound, which have the potential to fall on power lines are identified and scheduled for removal. 

Liberty’s vegetation management efforts include:

  • Systematic routine vegetation maintenance program where the entire system is inspected and treated on a three year cycle.
  • Aggressively removing dead and dying trees wherever they pose an eminent threat to powerlines
  • Embarking on a new partnership with the United States Forest Service to enhance forest health and protection through fuels reduction.

Liberty is coordinating with the California Tahoe Conservancy (CTC) to reduce and remove wood and fuels from parcels owned by the CTC in the Tahoe Basin.  Liberty routinely conducts vegetation management work along power lines to remove identified hazards.  Removal of dead trees or other hazards sometimes results in a significant amount of wood left on site.  In cooperation with the CTC, Liberty’s authorized contractors will cut logs from tree removals into firewood lengths and leave on site in an accessible location.  These locations are reported back to the CTC to advertise to the public for free firewood collection.  Firewood pickup locations and fuel wood permit application can be found at the button below: 

Fuelwood Permit

Customers should never attempt to trim trees in the vicinity of power lines, due to the danger and risk of coming in contact with power lines.  If you are concerned about trees or vegetation in or near power lines please review the FAQs or complete the Tree Inspection Request form.

Submit a Tree Inspection Request form

Tree Safety and Vegetation Management FAQs

Laws and Regulations

Liberty is a California-based utility, regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Liberty will obtain a reasonable amount of clearance beyond the minimum requirements to allow for a several years’ worth of growth, potential wind sway and other environmental factors. Distance obtained from the line after a pruning cycle may be more than 20 feet for fast growing species such as poplars or elms along distribution lines.

There are rules and regulations designed to maintain public safety and electric service reliability. Major regulations covering vegetation management include:

  • Utilities are required to maintain firebreaks around poles located in wild land areas during fire season that have certain equipment with the potential to emit sparks when operating properly.

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  • Utilities are required to maintain clearance between vegetation and high voltage power lines during fire season in wild land areas to prevent wild fires. Also requires removal of dead, diseased or dying trees that could fall into power lines.

  • Utilities are required to maintain clearance between vegetation and high voltage power lines at all times in all areas for public safety and electric system reliability.

Other References




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