Trimming FAQs

Why and when we trim

Why do you trim my trees?

Maintaining a clear area near power lines is an important part of reducing the risk of power outages and serious accidents. Our preventative maintenance program, called line clearing, regularly clears tree branches and limbs. We only trim trees that can potentially cause safety hazards and power outages by brushing against or falling on power lines.

How often do you trim?

Nearly all of our neighborhood power lines are cleared on a three-year cycle and total about 35,000 miles in Virginia and North Carolina. Unusual circumstances, such as storms, may require more frequent clearing.

How will I know when line-clearing crews will be in my neighborhood?

We will notify you by letter or a message on your bill approximately 30 days before the line clearing begins.  When our contract crews enter your property, they will provide a courtesy knock on your door and then proceed with their work. You may see an increase of trucks and contractor activity as a result of these efforts.

Why should I allow line-clearing professionals on my property?

Line clearing is not only important, it’s necessary to ensure you have a safe, reliable and economic source of electricity. Your cooperation is valuable in helping prevent outages to you and your neighbors.

How we trim

How do you decide how much to trim?

The amount of trimming varies by tree and location, and our specially trained, line-clearing professionals will consider each tree’s species, growth rate, and the relative location to power lines and equipment before pruning.  We prune to direct future tree growth away from power lines.  In most cases, we remove only the tree’s branches that are growing toward the electrical lines and equipment.

Why did you cut so much from my tree?

Several factors can affect how a tree should be pruned: Power-line voltage, tree species, and tree location must all be considered. We also take into account the health of the tree and work with its biological system to ward off decay. Please call us if you have questions about tree trimming at a specific site at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).

How do you handle dead trees on my property?

Falling trees are the number one cause of power outages. That’s why we must remove any hazards that pose a risk to our power lines or electric facilities. Our chief focus is to clear any portion of the tree that poses a risk for causing a power outage.

Why don’t you clean up limbs after storms?

Our chief concern following large storm events is to restore everyone’s power as quickly and safely as possible.  Trees and limbs that fall during a storm remain the property of the tree owner.

Should I prune my trees, or will Dominion?

Dominion encourages customers to maintain their trees before they interfere with electric lines and equipment. You should never attempt to trim any vegetation touching or close to power lines. If you or a contractor are doing work at your home and need to get near lines, you must call Dominion to help determine a safe way to remove trees or limbs.

Overhead and underground line safety

What kind of trees can I plant near power lines?

Here's a list of trees and shrubs that can be planted near power lines and our guidelines for safe planting distances. Be sure to call 811 or visit at least two days before you dig. This free service will identify any buried lines.

A tree is touching the power lines and sparking. What should I do?

Contact Dominion immediately at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).

You may want to turn off the master breaker to your house. Please do not attempt to trim any trees or plants growing on or near power lines. Safety is a core value at Dominion, which is why we hire trained, line-clearing professionals to perform this work.

Why don’t you bury all power lines?

Underground lines are not always ideal, based on several factors. First, they are expensive to install and difficult to maintain - especially in areas where overhead lines already exist. Dominion is currently studying the cost and benefit of underground lines to improve the reliability of your electric service while keeping your electricity costs low. Identifying, finding, and repairing  damaged underground lines takes much longer than overhead lines. Repairs can require digging up several yards of the line, which may disrupt lawns and landscaping.

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