At Powerline Plus Ltd., we are committed to providing safe and reliable electrical services to our clients and their customers. Out in the field working on high voltage electrical equipment, we face numerous challenges on a daily basis. The close proximity of trees to power lines is one of those challenges. With over 10 million trees in Toronto, it is virtually impossible to avoid tree and power line contact. There are approximately 150,000 trees that are in close proximity to power lines in the City of Toronto. Some areas are more heavily vegetated than others, which pose greater obstacles for crews.
For example, Powerline Plus is currently working on Project “Merton Millwood Phase 4” in the Mt.Pleasant and St. Clair Ave E. area. This residential community has countless beautiful and well-aged trees, some have grown as large as 50 feet high. The maturity and size of these trees make them likely to obstruct power lines, and regular tree trimming is required to keep the distribution system functioning normally.
When trees and power lines do come in contact, electrical services can be disrupted and it can present numerous safety hazards for the public. Trees that come into contact with power lines can cut the power to your home or business, result in property damage, and cause pedestrian or traffic obstructions. Some trees need to be trimmed, others may be too close to power lines and may need to be cut down completely because they present a potentially dangerous situation if left as is. The infamous ice storm of 2013 wreaked havoc on the City of Toronto, and showed the potential dangers and damages that the close proximity of trees to power lines can have on the City’s power systems.
The reality is that although natural forces, such as heavy winds and rain, play a significant role in exacerbating these challenges, some outages could be prevented with proper tree maintenance and care. Powerline Plus has a strong, working relationship with the City of Toronto, and has improved our coordination efforts when it comes to dealing with these issues. Residents can also help by maintaining trees on their property. In older areas where residents have hydro poles situated in their backyard that feed the service to their homes, tree maintenance is especially important. Toronto Hydro’s Capital Projects program places emphasis on upgrading these services, where trees or animal contact with power lines cause regular outages.
It is important that when it comes to performing tree maintenance that doing so safely is the most important consideration. If there is a tree that resides on your property and it is near a power line, then you should hire a qualified arborist who is licensed to work on trees around power lines. Do not attempt to do this yourself, as it is very dangerous and requires a certified professional. If you are a Toronto resident and require maintenance on trees on City-owned property, you should call 3-1-1.
Powerline Plus always prioritizes safety. As a homeowner, you can reduce electrical safety hazards by proper planting. We recommend the following if you are planting trees and gardening:
- Visualize how high and wide the tree will grow. If it is likely that the tree will potentially pose a problem in the future, then it is best to consider planting it somewhere else.
- Avoid planting trees near an energized power line.