A CLEAR RIGHT-OF-WAY IMPROVES RELIABILITY AND SAFETY
Eastern Illini operates and maintains more than 4,400 miles of overhead and underground power lines. It is important to maintain the rights-of-way for safety, reliability, accessibility, fire prevention and fewer outages and blinks. We appreciate your cooperation, and we will continue to be respectful when working on your property.
Trees are an essential part of the environment. They can protect our homes from elements, give us clean air, and make the landscape attractive. However, during storms trees can be dangerous to a member’s personal property. They can fall on homes, cars, and power lines. When a tree or limb falls on the power lines it disrupts service. This is why Eastern Illini does year-round trimming and removal of trees within the service territory.
If you have a tree with a limb near the lines or plan on trimming a tree that is in danger of falling on the lines, we ask that you call Eastern Illini, and we will send someone out to look at it first. Eastern Illini does most of our tree trimming during the spring, summer, and after storms.
We base where we trim in the service territory off a few different factors. First, we keep records of where we trim so that we can look back and see what areas have gone the longest without any trimming. Second, linemen will often report any trees that threaten the lines or areas that need attention. In all cases, we work closely with the landowners before any trimming or removal is done.
To provide reliable service
Trees and vegetation can cause power interruptions and outages when they come in contact with power lines. Trees or brush that touch electric lines create short circuits that cause your lights to blink, clocks to be interrupted, and computers to lose information. When a major storm occurs, the number of trees that need to be removed from the power lines can cause outages to last much longer than they would otherwise.
To control the cost of service
Clearing of power lines is on-going and is an overhead cost for Eastern Illini. By permanently removing trees and tall shrubs from the rights-of-way, the ongoing cost of clearing activities is significantly reduced.
Trees and brush interfering with power lines raise costs in other ways. It takes longer for line crews to find problems and make repairs if they cannot see or get to problems.
To protect people and property
Since trees and brush contain water, they can conduct electricity. If those trees or brush touch high-voltage wires, they are subjected to voltages of up to 7,200 volts. If the tree conducted even a fraction of that energy, it could be fatal to someone touching that tree or to a child climbing in the tree.
Eastern Illini has a standard clearing width of 40 feet (20 feet on each side of the line) for overhead distribution lines and 20 to 30 feet in maintained yard areas.
This is necessary for several reasons:
Costs are reduced if trees and brush can be maintained at such a distance that clearing is not needed again for at least five years.
Service reliability is improved if trees and brush are far enough away from lines to prevent any possible contact.
Work crews need adequate access to the power lines to conduct repairs quickly and safely.
Eastern Illini will provide, at a minimum, 21-day direct notice, by mailing a postcard to members, county, township, city or village officials, or designees of them regarding non-emergency vegetation management activities. Such direct notice to county, township, city or village officials or designees will include the appropriate Eastern Illini circuit maps. Direct notices to members will include a statement that circuit maps of affected areas ware on file with the office of the appropriate government officials.
Generally, all standing vegetation within the designated clearing zone will be removed. Even brush and shrubs that will not grow to the height of the lines will need to be removed to provide line crews with adequate access to the line for inspection and maintenance.
To accomplish our goal of providing reliable electric service, Eastern Illini will not trim trees to grow around the lines. Trees need to be removed if any portion of the trunk is located within the clearing zone, which is 20 feet on each side of the primary line except, at Eastern Illini’s discretion, in maintained yard areas where the clearing zone is either 10 feet on each side for single-phase lines or 15 feet on each side for multi-phase lines.
Healthy trees outside the clearing zone are trimmed if their branches encroach into the cleared area. Also, trees located outside of the clearing zone that are dead, dying or leaning toward the lines will be removed if they are a threat to primary overhead lines.
Trees from which fruit is harvested annually such as apple trees will be pruned in a “V” shape away from the lines to obtain proper clearance from the power line. This does not include species such as pin cherry, choke cherry or flowering crab trees.
Eastern Illini provides a reference guide about planting trees. Any trees or shrubs planted within 15 feet on either side of the lines in maintained yard areas or within 20 feet on either side of the lines in other areas will be removed during the next clearing cycle. In addition, any vegetation remaining within the cleared area is at continuous risk for damage, without compensation, if the lines must be accessed for operation, maintenance, or replacement.
Keep in mind there are buried electric lines around these devices. First call JULIE to get underground lines marked. For your safety, please do not dig within 5′ of marked lines and plant no closer than 10′ from any device.
Eastern Illini puts power lines underground when and where it makes sense geographically and financially. The cost of running lines underground for our entire system is prohibitively high and not always a feasible alternative.
Eastern Illini will only consider cutting down trees that threaten the integrity of the electric system. When a member requests to have a tree(s) trimmed or removed, an Eastern Illini employee from the forestry and vegetation management department will visit the location to determine if the tree is a danger to Eastern Illini’s facilities and if it can be taken down safely. Eastern Illini won’t cut down a tree if there is any danger of it falling on a structure or causing any kind of damage to the member’s property (buildings, landscaped areas, permanent yard ornaments, etc.). If this is the case, we can schedule a time to have the power line dropped, free of charge, while your tree contractor performs your work. Cleaning up of the debris and site restoration is the responsibility of the member.
Yes. If a member calls to have trees trimmed away from power lines, Eastern Illini will perform this work at no charge when a crew is in the area and as time permits