Tree Trimming and Vegetation Management

We understand the importance of the trees and vegetation that surround your homes and our service territory. Trees and other plants provide tremendous value to our neighbours and communities. However, tree limbs, branches and foliage can be dangerous and cause damage to our electrical system that may impact your access to safe and reliable power.

Why Complete Regular Tree Trimming and Vegetation Management?

When tree limbs hit or fall on powerlines they may become energized, posing a risk to the safety of anyone nearby. They can also cause damage to powerlines, causing unplanned outages.

Our Forestry team works hard to ensure that trees and other plants growing near power lines do not cause any safety hazards or power outages for our customers. We carefully prune tree limbs to direct growth away from powerlines. We also use insulated power cable to help guard against outages caused by trees brushing up against the overhead wires.

When will the trees in my neighbourhood be trimmed?

To properly maintain vegetation growth and keep trees away from powerlines, we schedule tree trimming for different areas within our service territory each year. All areas operate on a cycle to ensure we can maintain vegetation for all areas we service.

View the tree trimming schedule for the City of Kitchener, or the Township of Wilmot.

View the tree trimming schedule for the City of Waterloo, the Township of Wellesley, or the Township of Woolwich.

Unplanned Tree Trimming Services

Sometimes strong winds or storms damage trees near overhead power lines. If you need us to trim or remove a tree that is hazardous to an overhead powerline complete the Forestry Service Call Request Form or call our Operations department at [insert number]

Once the form is complete, we will arrange to see the affected tree(s) and recommend the type of work required. It is the responsibility of the tree owner to clean up and dispose of any branches and debris.

Tree Trimming on Your Property

As a property owner, you are responsible for keeping the service wires on your property clear of trees or tall vegetation. For more information on your responsibilities as a homeowner, please see the Privately-Owned Powerline Assets  handout

You should make sure your trees and plants are regularly maintained and in good health. Inspect trees on a regular basis for damage and signs of decay such as:

  • Tree is rotting or decayed
  • Crown of the tree is fading
  • Leaves near power lines have changed colour

You can perform your own pruning as long as you keep yourself, your equipment and all parts of the tree at least three metres (length of two park benches) away from the power line. Overhead power lines can be dangerous.

Caution: One of the most frequent hazards with do-it-yourself tree trimming is controlling the direction tree branches fall when they are clipped. If a branch falls in the wrong direction, it could come into contact with a power line. Be mindful of power lines near your trees when you perform this work and pay careful attention to how the tree limbs fall.

If you can’t perform the work safely or are unsure, contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor that is certified to perform this work.

Safety Tips: Planting Near and Around Transformers

To maintain the reliability, integrity and efficiency of the distribution system, we have the  right to have unobstructed access to electrical distribution equipment, including but not limited to padmount transformers and switchgear, on private and public property at all times for inspection, repairs and maintenance.

If you are considering planting shrubbery around a pad-mounted transformer (the rectangular green boxes located near property lines), please note the need to keep as much open space as possible so our technicians can access the transformer for maintenance and repairs. Do not plant any vegetation other than turf grasses within 3.65 metres (length of three golf clubs) of the opening side of the box (where the padlock is located) as a clearance of 3 metres (length of two park benches) is required at all times on this side of the transformer.  Labels are placed on all padmount transformers clearly illustrate the working clearances required around the equipment.

If there is a transformer on or near your property line, please note the following safety tips:

  • Always call Ontario One Call at least 7 business days before you plan to dig at 1-800-400-2255, you can also visit Ontario One Call’s website to request your locate. One of their representatives will come out to locate and identify existing buried conductors around the transformer.
  • Keep all shrubs, fences and other permanent structures at least 3 metres from the front and 1 metre from the back and sides of the transformer.
  • Don’t plant trees near pad-mounted transformers! A tree’s large root system could lift the concrete pad and potentially create a power outage.
  • Select plants that are slow-growing and easy to maintain. Avoid using plants with thorns, such as barberry, blackberry, hawthorn, or roses.
  • Location numbers and/or company locks must be visible at all times.
  • Don’t allow plants to overgrow the transformer. Valuable equipment can overheat and become damaged, possibly causing a power interruption.
  • Don’t plant vines or ivy, which can attach to and potentially damage the transformer.
  • Don’t place dirt, wood chips or snow against any portion of the transformer – this could also cause it to overheat and/or rust prematurely.
  • Don’t change grade levels around the pad-mounted transformer for a distance of 1.8 metres out from the cement base of the transformer.

For more information and guidelines visit the Electrical Safety Authority website.

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