Proper tree care reduces power outages; Utility companies recognized for tree care

urban tree
The wrong tree was planted under this power line. It may have to be removed if it grows any taller. DNR Photo

Has your community ever experienced tree-related power outages? If so, you may want to find out if your utility company is part of the Tree Line USA Program. DNR is encouraging all Washington utilities to become part of this program.

The Tree Line USA Program provides many benefits to utility companies and benefits to the communities they serve. Planting the right tree in the right place can save money in the long run because trees don’t grow into utility lines and need to be constantly trimmed or, eventually, removed.

DNR recognizes utility companies for tree care
DNR recognizes utility companies that commit to healthy tree care and maintenance, tree worker training programs, and community tree planting as Tree Line USA utilities. There are now 10 in Washington State:

  • Avista Utilities
  • Benton County PUD
  • Clark County PUD
  • Chelan County PUD #1
  • Pacificorp
  • Peninsula Light and Power
  • Puget Sound Energy
  • Richland Energy Services
  • Snohomish County PUD
  • Tacoma Power

Check out a new component of the Tree Line USA Program called the Tree-based Energy Conservation Program — a tree-based energy conservation program that gives special consideration to the value of trees in conserving energy.

If your utility company is not participating, encourage it to become part of the Tree Line USA Program. It will help reduce the number of tree-related power outages your community. And by reducing repair and maintenance costs, the program can reduce costs for your utility company and, potentially, for ratepayers like you.

How utilities earn recognition
In cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, the Arbor Day Foundation recognizes public and private utilities that demonstrate practices that protect and enhance America’s urban and community forests. The program seeks to achieve dual goals of safe, reliable electric service and abundant, healthy trees across utility service areas. This is accomplished through the promotion of utility arboriculture and public education using three core standards: 

  • Quality Tree Care Standard – The utility follows industry standards for pruning, planting, removals, and trenching and tunneling near trees.
  • Annual Worker Training Standard – The utility ensures that its employees and contract workers are trained in best practices.
  • Tree Planting and Public Education Standard – The utility sponsors and participates in a tree planting and public education program designed to expand canopy and educate customers about the proper tree planting, placement, and pruning, including participation in community Arbor Day celebrations.

For more information on proper tree care, contact DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

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