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General Tree-Trimming FAQ

We trim and remove trees along our 4 kilovolt (kV) and 13 kV distribution lines every three years, and on our 27 kV and 33 kV distribution lines every two years. We trim about 1,500 miles of our distribution system every year.
Yes. If you live next to or near a distribution or transmission right-of-way, we’ll notify you at least a month before we start work. For distribution right-of-way tree trimming in Westchester County, we go door to door along the route before we begin work, to discuss the trimming work, obtain written permission to remove any trees we recommended, and answer questions. Depending upon where you live, we’ll also notify the appropriate contacts in your municipality (for example, Department of Public Works, Highway Department, and Environmental Planner).
In New York City our specification is 10 feet above, 6 feet either side, and 6 feet below our wires or equipment. In Westchester County our specification is 15 feet above, 10 feet to either side, and 10 feet below our wires or equipment.
Trees growing directly under the power lines may appear U- or V- shaped. Trees growing alongside power lines may appear L-shaped, or one side may be completely removed (side pruning). The tree may appear misshapen; however, it must be pruned to safely clear the wires. In general, tall trees growing near power lines will never have the potential to grow with a “natural” shape.
Yes. We apply a low-volume foliar herbicide on select trees and plants on the transmission right-of-way and a small herbicide treatment to tree stumps soon after cutting. In general, we don’t apply herbicides along the distribution right-of-way. Only chemicals approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation are used and applied by properly certified workers.
No. If the tree was on your property, you are responsible for having the debris removed. For town trees, please contact your town’s public works department. In New York City, contact the Department of Parks and Recreation at 311 or nyc.gov/311.

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